The civil sexual assault case against Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will be held in Reno under a ruling issued Thursday by the Nevada Supreme Court.
A former VIP casino hostess at Harrah's accused Roethlisberger of raping her in his penthouse suite in July 2008, when Roethlisberger was at Lake Tahoe for a celebrity golf tournament. The lawsuit also named Harrah's employees and executives, whom she accuses of orchestrating a cover-up of the incident.
Roethlisberger has denied the allegations. The woman never filed a formal criminal complaint with police.
Lawyers for the two-time Super Bowl champion had wanted to move the case to Douglas County, where Harrah's is located. They argued that Washoe County was an improper venue because, while one other defendant owned a home there, no defendants lived there.
But the high court rejected that argument, noting that Roethlisberger lacked standing to seek a venue change.
Justices also note that if Roethlisberger were the only defendant and lives out of state, under Nevada law the woman could have filed her suit in any county in the state.
They also rejected arguments that the trial should be moved to Minden in Douglas County for convenience of witnesses and to ensure justice.
"The record contains no evidence demonstrating that the convenience of the witnesses compels a change in venue or that holding the trial in Douglas County rather than in Washoe County would promote the interests of justice," the ruling said.
"The difference in travel times to the courts in either county are, for many witnesses, relatively minimal," justices said, adding that while Roethlisberger may receive a speedier trial in Douglas County, the lower court judge did not abuse his discretion by retaining the case 50 miles north in Washoe County.