Plaintiffs in Postle Case Ready with More Allegations if Necessary
The attorney for the plaintiffs in their court case against poker player Mike Postle issued his opposition to the most recent motions to dismiss. That attorney, Mac VerStandig, does not mince words, not withstanding the necessary legal jargon.
When we last checked in with the case of Veronica Brill et al versus Michael L Postle et al, Postle filed his latest motion to dismiss the amended complaint against him. That amended complaint added more charges and more plaintiffs. With nearly 90 of them alleging that Postle cheated in poker games, Postle essentially filed a brief motion to dismiss. He essentially claimed the plaintiffs weren’t particular enough with their fraud and misrepresentation charges, and they didn’t state a claim for which relief may be granted.
At the same time, VerStandig filed a motion for sanctions against Postle. This document alleged that Postle obtained help from lawyers to ghostwrite his legal filings despite telling the court he represented himself with no legal backing. That violates the law and the rules of the court.
So, while Postle fell deeper into the hole that he allegedly dug, the plaintiffs prepared their opposition to other motions to dismiss. Those came from co-defendants King’s Casino on behalf of Stones Gambling Hall and former Stones tournament director Justin Kuraitis.
Core of Plaintiffs’ Argument Against Stones’ Motion
Stones Gambling Hall filed its latest motion to dismiss in early April. That document claimed much the same as Postle, that the claims missed the “required particularity” for fraud and misrepresentation charges and the plaintiffs failed to state a claim for which relief can be granted.
That motion, however, also accused the plaintiffs of being sore losers, that they claimed Postle was cheating because they couldn’t win against him, because he won too many hands against them.
VerStandig lays out the rebuttal to all of Stones’ arguments in the opposition document.
As the Postle/Stones litigation continues, we filed a brief in opposition to the casino’s motion to dismiss, earlier today. I’ll refrain from substantive comment other than to note I’ve long awaited an opportunity to quote George Devol in a brief. https://t.co/3QTPbyZAnS pic.twitter.com/Sau9IttTfG
— Mac VerStandig (@mac_verstandig) May 5, 2020
First, he clarifies that the case against Stones is that the casino lied to players about its security measures as Postle used the casino’s technology to cheat, that it covered up the cheating, and that it even hired Postle to play in those games in which he cheated.
VerStandig addresses the “sore losers” claim:
“To whittle Plaintiffs’ argument down to a disparaging conclusion is not only offensive to Plaintiffs, but, too, to the very gaming community from which Stones draws its customer base. … This is a case involving the victimization of the poker community in an unprecedented fashion and on an enormous scale (as evidenced by the cascade of individuals joining as named Plaintiffs herein).”
A part of the plaintiffs’ opposition to the motion to dismiss deals with the argument that the gaming-centric nature of the case is not enough for recovery.
VerStandig details several responses to this, starting with the fact that the plaintiffs seek cognizable, identifiable monies not associated with poker losses alongside poker losses related to statistically-provable cheating. He also argues that punitive damages are permitted even with only nominal damages like rake. He shows the precedent in California courts that gaming-related obligations presented in legal contexts are valid.
The second argument up for debate is that the economic loss rule does not apply under judicial consideration.
VerStandig explains that there is no contractual relationship between the parties – between the plaintiffs and Stones. Rather, there is a special relationship between casino patrons and operators under California laws, though that is not even required. Additionally, the plaintiffs do clearly state a proper claim of negligence via regulation and common law.
The document also addresses the argument regarding the claims of fraud, constructive fraud, and negligent misrepresentation.
According to VerStandig, the Rule 9 pleading standards are satisfied, and the plaintiffs validly state their claim for constructive fraud and negligent misrepresentation. This is explained in detail in the filing.
Finally, as for the argument about the Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA), the plaintiffs show that Stones’ conduct was deceptive and caused harm. And Brill did put forth a proper claim for libel per se due to the Stones public statement about her “completely fabricated” allegations.
Amend the Complaint Again?
The plaintiffs also note that they are willing and able to amend their complaint again with more detail if the court wishes. They are willing to identify Postle’s “chief confederate” by name and position and furnish additional allegations regarding Stones’ narrative of Postle’s “gifted” play and use of graphics to conceal the cheating.
In fact, the plaintiffs seem to be willing to release quite a bit more information, which will become a part of the public record.
Additionally, the plaintiffs are prepared to amend the pleading to make it a class action case.
Opposing Kuraitis’ Motion to Dismiss
Comparatively, this filing was brief and to the point. Since Kuraitis is mostly in line with that of Stones, the plaintiffs can incorporate their response to Stones by reference.
The document does, however, allege that Kuraitis’ claim that he was a mid-level employee is countered by the fact that he was the Stones Live Poker Director and the one responsible for all production and security with regard to those games. He is also liable to Brill and Mills for fraud because he personally made false statements to them.
The next steps are not entirely clear. However, from a layperson’s reading of the opposition to Stones’ motion, it appears that the matter is now before the judge. That judge now has several options:
–Deny the motions to dismiss
–Allow the plaintiffs to detail additional allegations
–Afford “other and further relief as may be just and proper”
We await word from the US District Court for the Eastern District of California.