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Victims OK Settlement in '81 Las Vegas Hilton Fire

October 16, 1985|Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — Victims of a 1981 fire that killed eight people and injured 198 others at the Las Vegas Hilton agreed Tuesday to a $22.8-million settlement from more than 40 defendants.

Attorneys gathered before U.S. District Judge Paul Goldman to sign final papers guaranteeing the payment, minus attorney fees, to 109 plaintiffs.

Six other people--security guards at the resort--settled separately for a total of $50,000.

"We just got the money today, and we should get the checks out to everybody by next week," said attorney Neil Galatz, who represented most of the plaintiffs.

Galatz said relatives of the eight people who died in the blaze will get the largest payments in the settlement, while awards of differing amounts will go to others who claimed injury from the fatal fire. He declined to specify the individual amounts.

A fire started by a busboy in an eighth-floor lounge area sent flames shooting up the side of the 31-story resort in the early evening hours of Feb. 10. Most of those killed were felled by smoke inhalation in their rooms or in hallways of the massive hotel-casino.

The busboy, Philip Cline, was later convicted of eight counts of first-degree murder and is currently serving multiple life terms in the Nevada State Prison.

Galatz said the hotel itself will pay the majority of the settlement--$16.5 million--while the other defendants will split the remainder of the tab.

Among the defendants were the hotel's architect, companies involved in its construction and firms that supplied the interior finishings and furniture.

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