The legal battle in the ongoing cases against California-based poker player Mike Postle in connection with cheating allegations during the Stones Live cash games took another interesting turn this week.
Postle is being accused of using a ghostwriter in his Motion to Dismiss the California case he faces against Veronica Brill and other named plaintiffs. Also, in an entirely separate matter, Postle is being accused of dodging service in the Nevada case brought by poker player Marle Cordeiro.
On Tuesday, April 28 Maurice ‘Mac’ VerStandig, lead counsel for Veronica Brill and the other named plaintiffs in the lawsuit against Mike Postle, filed a pair of motions in federal court of the Eastern District of California in opposition to a previously filed Motion to Dismiss by Postle in late March.
In the 36-page Opposition Motion to Postle’s Motion to Dismiss, Plaintiff’s counsel reinforced their arguments against Postle, bringing back the allegations of cheating while deconstructing Postle’s Motion to Dismiss in an effort to make sure the case will proceed.
In a second California filing, VerStandig is asking for sanctions against Postle, accusing him of using a ghostwriter in filing his Motion to Dismiss.
Alleged in VerStandig’s filed Motion for Sanctions, the Motion to Dismiss filing submitted and signed by Postle, who is not officially represented by a lawyer at this time, was “actively violating the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure” by either using a ghostwriter or, worse, plagiarizing another Motion to Dismiss filed by a lawyer known by Postle. While using ghostwriting in legal settings is not against the law, there are ethical concerns when a lawyer provides services without providing their name.
“This case concern’s Mr. Postle’s representations he was honestly playing games of poker on his own when, in fact, he was cheating as such games with the help of one or more unidentified confederates. Unfortunately, it now appears his approach to this litigation is identical, as he purports to be a pro se litigant but is, in fact, having court papers ghostwritten by one or more unidentified attorneys.”
The document alleges that the Motion to Dismiss the case submitted by Postle on March 25 was a “cleanly-drafted document, replete with citations to controlling law” in perfect format. That’s something VerStandig alleges Postle, who submitted the document under his own name, simply couldn’t do on his own without any legal background.
The Motion for Sanctions then cites Postle’s relationship with attorney William Portanova who, while not formally representing Postle, was named as his attorney in an article in The Sacramento Bee. It compares the similarities between a Motion to Dismiss filed by Portanova in a totally unrelated case and Postle’s Motion to Dismiss, alleging that Postle either used Portanova as a ghostwriter or used it unauthorized.
Citing numerous accounts of California courts discussing the ethics of ghostwriting, including a ruling that called it a “serious ethical breach”, the Plaintiffs counsel asked for the striking of Postle’s original filing and for him to essentially be instructed to file his own work or, if he has an attorney of record, to them be named and appear in court.
At the same time, on Monday, VerStandig, representing poker player Marle Cordero in Nevada, filed a Motion for Alternative Service after alleging that Postle has “thus far avoided nine (9) separate efforts by a process server” as well as ignoring four emails and Twitter messages.
In addition to direct contact, VerStandig reached out to and connected with Postle’s mother to ask her to reach out to him to check his e-mail.
Being unable to serve Postle through traditional means, VerStandig is looking for the court to serve Postle via FedEx to his home, via email and social media as a means that “will satisfy the rigors of governing law” and allow the case to proceed.