Mike Postle Amends Dismissal Motion in Poker Cheating Case5 months ago
Accused poker cheater Mike Postle has filed an amended motion to dismiss the $10 million civil lawsuit brought by 88 plaintiffs. The plaintiffs, poker players all, have collectively sued Postle, Stones Gambling Hall parent King’s Casino LLC (which has now been merged into a new entity, King's Casino Management Corp), and Stones employee Justin Kuraitis over alleged cheating by Postle during dozens of live-streamed “Stones Live!” sessions.
This latest update was filed by Postle himself, as a pro se defendant, on April 8, 2020, just prior to the extended Easter holiday. The revised 13-page motion to dismiss was docketed where the case was filed, the Sacramento-based US DIstrict Court for the Eastern District of Sacramento.
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The amended motion will be addressed by presiding judge William B. Shubb in the first hearing in the case. That initial hearing is scheduled for 1:30 pm on May 4, 2020.
Postle’s dismissal motion borrows somewhat from similar motions already filed in the case by the other two co-defendants, King’s Casino Management Corp. and Kuraitis, but continues to be constructed atop the same legal boilerplate language used in Postle’s initial defense submission. That earlier response was hastily crafted on Postle’s behalf by Sacramento criminal attorney William J. Portanova, who claims only to represent Postle should any criminal allegations arise.
Though much of Portanova’s legalese remains, the revised motion was instead docketed by Postle’s mother, Rose Postle, from her West Sacramento home office. As filed, Postle’s dismissal motion still contains errors. No effort was made to expand the list of plaintiffs to its current roster of 88 players who competed against Postle during various cash-game streams; this revised filing lists only the first 25. The filing also fails to note that Postle’s co-defendant is operating under its new business name.
The underlying arguments supporting Postle’s revised motion have undergone little change. Postle and his unofficial attorney continue to assert that most of the fraud-related causes for action should be dismissed for lack of particularity, or detail, about the alleged torts that occurred. These claims remain despite the fact that the discovery phase of any case -- yet to be scheduled here -- is exactly for the purpose of uncovering such particulars. Postle’s co-defendant, King’s Casino, has claimed to have run at least two investigations into the cheating scandal, but has never released any of its findings.
Postle’s revised complaint is markedly less in-your-face than a similarly revised dismissal motion filed the same day King’s Casino Management Corp. In addition to denying all the allegations as a massive case of gambler’s crying over soured grapes, the revised King’s filing included an astonishing dismissal of Stones Gambling Hall’s responsibility to provide a fair gamble to its customers.
"Casinos do not owe a general duty of care to gamblers,” wrote Mark Mao, part of Stones’ legal team. The statement appears to be part of a planned preemptive defense that the cardroom bears no responsibility for Postle’s alleged actions, but also for those of its own employees, including Kuraitis and a yet-to-be-named “John Doe” who may become the fourth defendant in the case. Win or lose, such a claim of a lack of legal responsibility will add to the damage being done to Stones Gambling Hall’s business image.
The poker world noticed:
As with Postle’s revised motion, the latest Stones/King’s Casino filing also pleads a lack of specificity in the initial complaint. Again, this can be seen as an effort to forestall the alleged victims’ discovery attempts.
Despite never releasing any investigative findings, the filing adds that:
“Nor have plaintiffs adequately alleged causation or loss. None of the Stones Fraud Plaintiffs have alleged that they ever actually played a hand of poker with Mr. Postle after a discussion with Mr. Kuraitis. Nor have they alleged they lost money to Mr. Postle after they spoke with Mr. Kuraitis, let alone made such allegations with the specificity required under the Federal Rules.”
However, the plaintiffs have never alleged that Postle and Kuraitis spoke to each other directly and continuously during the “Stones Live!” streams. Instead, the lawsuit claims that Postle, working with Kuraitis and/or others, received some form of a data feed to one or more personal devices that gave him continuous knowledge of his hole-card holdings while the streams, with RFID technology in place, were being webcast.
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