Mike Postle to Dismiss all Charges Against All Parties

Mike Postle to Dismiss all Charges Against All Parties

An overconfident Mike Postle filed his defamation lawsuit in 2020  against everyone from Veronica Brill to ESPN. He sought hundreds of millions of dollars in damages from those he felt sullied his name. He then ghosted his initial lawyer and found absolutely no success in finding another one. And on April 1 – why not? – Postle filed a request with the court to dismiss all charges against all parties without prejudice.

The Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento, doesn’t do April Fool’s jokes – or any other jokes for that matter.

Case dismissed.

The case will not be over for Postle, though, as dismissing the suit does not disappear the legal fees incurred by at least two parties who hired prominent lawyers to file anti-SLAPP motions against Postle in their own defense.

First, though, let’s catch up.

A Postle Case Refresher

It all started years ago with suspicions that poker pro Mike Postle cheated in livestreamed poker games at Stones Gambling Hall, located just north of Sacramento in California. Those suspicions turned into allegations, and a scandal grew from it.

–September 28, 2019: Veronica Brill publicly alleges that Postle cheated.

–October 8, 2019: Brill and 24 other plaintiffs file suit in the US District Court in the Eastern District of California, citing nine allegations that included fraud, negligence, racketeering, and unjust enrichment.

–January 9, 2020: The judge orders alternative methods of serving papers to Postle due to months of evasion.

–March 4, 2020: Stones files a motion to dismiss all charges.

–March 13, 2020: Kuraitis files a motion to dismiss.

–March 25, 2020: Postle files motion to dismiss without an attorney but with legal help.

–March 25, 2020: More plaintiffs join to total 88 plaintiffs as VerStandig files an amended complaint with two new causes of action.

–April 8, 2020: Stones and Kuraitis files new motions to dismiss.

–April 9, 2020: Postle files a new motion to dismiss, still representing himself.

–April 28, 2020: Plaintiffs files a motion for sanctions against Postle for using a ghostwriter attorney while claiming to represent himself.

–May 18, 2020: Attorneys presents oral arguments regarding motions in Zoom hearing before Senior Judge William Shubb, who seemed unclear on poker terms and etiquette.

–June 3, 2020: Shubb dismisses all claims against all defendants, leaving open only the chance to file an amended complaint against Stones and Kuraitis.

–August 5, 2020: Plaintiffs request an extension to file an amended complaint due to ongoing settlement negotiations between plaintiffs and Stones and Kuraitis.

–September 9, 2020: Sixty defendants agree to private settlement, Brill among players who did not accept it. Postle freed from further litigation, non-settling defendants could file amended complaint.

–September 11, 2020: VerStandig withdraws from case with no objections.

–October 21, 2020: Court denies VerStandig’s withdrawal from case.

–November 18, 2020: Brill dismisses claims against defendants without prejudice.

–November 30, 2020: Judge dismisses remaining plaintiffs’ claims as they filed no amended complaint.

Meanwhile, as the court was going through the actual motions of dismissing that case, Mike Postle fumed about how he was wronged. While he didn’t try to prove that his livestreamed play was legitimate, he claimed the allegations were lies and ruined his career. So, he sued everyone.

–October 1, 2020: Postle files $360M lawsuit against 11 named defendants (including Brill, ESPN, PokerNews, etc.) and Does 1-1000 for the possibility of adding everyone who wronged him. The seven claims included defamation, trade libel, false light, and emotional distress.

–December 8, 2020: Postle attorney files motion to withdraw as counsel due to an inability to reach his client by any means.

–December 9, 2020: Defendant Todd Witteles files anti-SLAPP motion to dismiss charges.

–January 11, 2021: Brill files anti-SLAPP motion to dismiss charges.

–January 14: 2021: Court grants Postle attorney’s request to be removed as counsel.

–February 10 2021: Postle continues SLAPP hearings due to his inability to find a new attorney.

Postle Troubles Accumulate

As Mike Postle continued to seek $360M without an attorney, he petitioned the court to delay the case another 90-180 days. He claimed he could obtain new counsel but would need time to do so and to get that person up to speed about the case.

On March 18, Judge Shama Mesiwala held a virtual hearing with Postle and the attorneys representing Witteles and Brill. Postle again requested a continuance, again saying that he was still trying to secure new counsel. The judge did order the hearings rescheduled to April 20, giving him another month.

Haley Hintze listed to the hearing and noted that Postle asked for a 120-day continuance. He claimed that he could secure an attorney in the next few weeks but then would need more time from there. He told the judge that he has had “a lot of challenges recently” but wouldn’t “go through all that at this time.” And in his interviews with potential attorneys, they told Postle that the case is complex and would need months to prepare.

Judge Mesiwala wanted more information about Postle’s progress on finding an attorney. Postle said he began negotiations with a potential attorney, but that person had yet to agree to represent him. If they did, they could possibly be prepared for a hearing in 90 days.

“It’s pretty rare that you can come to court and just ask for a continuance,” Judge Mesiwala said. “It’s usually done on what we call an ex parte calendar. So even the fact that I’m entertaining this now is pretty unusual.”

Attorneys for Witteles and Brill argued that they agreed to a 30-day delay but nothing more. Brill’s attorney, Mark Randazza, also alleged that Postle retained a PR representative. “Mr. Postle says he cannot find counsel, but he has managed to retain a public relations firm. This complaint was filed as a public relations stunt.”

The judge said she understood that Postle got himself into the predicament but would grant him a bit more time. She agreed to a little more than 30 days. She set the next hearings for April 20.

Never Mind

Nearly two weeks later, Postle filed a request with the court to dismiss the case. It was a simple form stating that he wished to dismiss the entire action of all parties and all causes of action without prejudice. The court filed that dismissal on the same day, April 1.

Oh.

One might think this ends the matter, but one would be wrong.

First, Witteles’ attorney, Eric Bensamochan, told us that he immediately filed a motion on Witteles’ behalf to keep Postle on the hook for attorney fees. By the end of the day on April 2, the Sacramento County Superior Court received that motion and set a hearing date for May 12.

Second, Brill’s attorney, Marc Randazza, tweeted legal information regarding Postle’s case dismissal. He claimed that Postle filing the case dismissal motion equals an automatic loss regarding the anti-SLAPP motion against Postle. It appears that Randazza, too, will file a motion.

What a Mess

When the entire situation came to light in late 2019, poker pros like Joe Ingram analyzed hours upon hours of livestreamed play to determine the high probability that Mike Postle cheated. The only missing link in all of the evidence was the way in which he did it. No one could obtain proof. This was the reason the initial lawsuit against Postle was not successful.

Postle’s subsequent lawsuit against everyone from Daniel Negreanu to ESPN and up to a thousand “Does” to be named took the situation to another level entirely. Seeking $360M for defamation after he never even wagered a defense – so to speak – only infuriated most people in the poker community even more.

Some of the turns in the saga have been quite…ummm…interesting.

Per a court filing in March, Postle included an exhibit in the form of a letter from the HONR Network. That letter stated that HONR had reached out to Postle with assistance in locating an attorney, as the organization discovered that Postle had been the subject of “rights-violating content, privacy violations, actionable death threats, defamation, extortion attempts, etc.”

Even Messier

This author expressed outrage that Postle and HONR would be working together in any way. The person who launched HONR, Lenny Pozner, was a parent of a Sandy Hook mass shooting victim and started the organization to help people who are attacked online by conspiracy theorists, harassers, and the like.

HONR Network Director of Public Relations and Policy Alexandrea Merrell reached out immediately to clarify that Postle did not contact the network. She claimed it was a third party who discovered the treatment of Postle. And after some conversations, Merrell notified us that HONR became involved because of Marc Randazza’s connection to the case.

In that email, Merrell linked to a 2019 article about Randazza, who had represented conspiracy theorist and all-around scummy person Alex Jones in a case about the freedom of speech. Six Sandy Hook victims’ families sued Jones in 2019 for his public spreading of conspiracy-laden lies about the shooting that took their children. Randazza, a frequent guest on Jones’ now-banned Infowars internet show, planned to represent Jones.

That HuffPost article stated that Jones fired Randazza from the case – which Randazza disputed – because of a judge’s denial of a pro hac vice application filed by Randazza due to “serious misconduct.” Further, per HuffPost, many in the judicial system viewed Randazza as unethical due to misrepresentations in court, conflicts of interest, and solicited bribes.

Randazza’s participation in representing Jones likely kept him on HONR’s radar. When Randazza stepped up to represent Brill in her anti-SLAPP case against Postle, HONR investigated and found what they claimed to be defamation and threatening behavior against Postle.

Hintze revealed that Randazza reached out to her after she wrote about the HONR Network’s involvement in Postle’s case. Merrell provided a statement to Hintze – similar to the one to me – that pointed to Randazza’s connection with the Postle case.

Randazza saw the statements and, already aware of Merrell’s involvement with the current case, responded. He claimed that Merrell acted as Postle’s counsel in calls with both anti-SLAPP firms involved in the Postle case. According to Randazza, Merrell argued for extensions for Postle and indicated that the attorneys would “lose credibility with the judge and seem unreasonable” if they did not agree to the time extensions for Postle.

Randazza went on to say that the Huffington Post article about Jones firing him was a lie. “I do not discriminate on what other people think of my clients,” he said. “The First Amendment is there for everyone, or it winds up being there for no one.”

Side note: It is interesting that Randazza said that Jones and Merrell said that Postle deserved representation regardless of what most people may think of them. So, generally, no matter what scummy things the clients have done or allegedly done, they deserve representation. This is true, but both of them having to explain that in the context of this situation is…just interesting.

 

Disclaimer: This author is not a lawyer and has virtually zero qualifications to analyze legal documents or arguments. Nevertheless, she persists.

About Jennifer Newell

Jennifer began writing about poker while working at the World Poker Tour in the mid-2000s. Since then, her freelance writing career has taken her from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back to her hometown of St. Louis, where she now lives with her two dogs. She continues to follow the poker world as she also launches a new subscription box company and finishes her first novel. Jennifer has written for numerous publications including PokerStars.com and has followed the US poker and gaming market closely for the last 15 years. Follow Jen on Twitter

Disclaimer: The information on this site is my interpretation of the laws as made available online. It is in no way meant to serve as legal advice or instruction. We recommend that you seek legal advice from a licensed attorney for further or official guidance.

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