The $30 million lawsuit brought against Mike Postle, Justin Kuraitis, and Stones Gambling Hall by Veronica Brill and more than 80 other poker players was dismissed on Wednesday. The lawsuit, which alleged Postle profited by cheating in poker games at Stones Gambling Hall in California on a live stream, alleged various claims of fraud, negligence, and libel against the three defendants.
In a 24-page ruling released Wednesday afternoon, Judge William B. Shubb granted motions to dismiss brought by the three plaintiffs and effectively ruled against the 14 combined complaints. The ruling did leave open the possibility to revisit some of the complaints at a later date should Brill’s legal team, lead by Mac Ver Standig, be willing to come forward with more information. Two issues that were common inside the complaint were California public policy against judicial resolution of civil claims arising out of gambling disputes and the fact that some of the complaints were tied to the rake collected by the host casino.
Disappointment is not a strong enough word, but we will continue the fight with an amended pleading. In the interim, I would encourage everyone to read the judge’s opinion, which is detailed and well-written. My admiration for our clients has no bounds. https://t.co/bt5POVWawe
— Mac VerStandig (@mac_verstandig) June 3, 2020
All five complaints against Postle, including Fraud, Negligent Misrepresentation, Negligence Per Se, and Unjust Enrichment were dismissed by Shubb. The RICO charge was dismissed because Shubb believed the plaintiffs had “failed to allege facts demonstrating a concrete injury to their “business or property” – a requirement for a RICO case to proceed.
King’s Casino, the parent company behind Stones Gambling Hall, asked the court to dismiss six complaints brought to the court by Brill; negligent misrepresentation, negligence, constructive fraud, fraud, libel per se against Brill, and violation of California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA).
In dismissing the fraud complaint against King’s, Shubb noted that defendants “fail to particularly plead the damages they suffered as a result of this alleged fraud” and that the defendants did not allege which days they played at Stones after they were defrauded. The judge did allow the plaintiffs the opportunity to revisit the fraud complaint if they can properly identify how much rake they paid to Stones during the games in which cheating is alleged to occur. In earlier filings, Brill’s attorneys had indicated they would be able to provide such information.
The judge also pointed out that “plaintiffs failed to disclose the identity of the alleged confederate” that was a Stones employee who was working with Postle to provide information from hole card cams. The judge dismissed the negligent misrepresentation complaint but again left the door open for Brill to revisit the filing should they be able to identify the alleged co-conspirator.
The libel per se complaint, in which Brill alleged a tweet sent from a Stones account led to “bullying, harassment, and emotionally-taxing non-physical attacks on social media” was also dismissed. Judge Shubb sided with Stones and dismissed the complaint stating “With 88 other plaintiffs in this action and millions of users on Twitter, it is possible — indeed, quite probable — that Stones’ tweet could have been in reference to any number of allegations, made by any number of people.”
Kuraitis, the Stones Tournament Director who also oversaw the production of the Stones Live livestream, had the four complaints against him dismissed as well. Shubb ruled that Kuraitis did not have a responsibility to the players to “ensure the game was carried out in a manner reasonably free of cheating.”
Brill took to social media following the dismissal to voice her frustration with the ruling and expressed concern for what this could mean for other live-streamed poker games in the future.
Just letting the poker community know that if you decide to cheat on a live stream you are free to do so. There will be no accountability for your actions and you are free to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars. The casino, and employees who might help you, are not accountable
— Veronica BLM (@Angry_Polak) June 3, 2020