Mike Postle Granted Second Continuance in $330 Million Libel Case

8 months ago
Mike Postle Granted Second Continuance in $330 Million Libel Case
20 Mar

A California Superior Court judge has granted a second continuation to accused poker cheat Mike Postle in his $330 million libel case against a dozen of his most prominent online accusers. Postle, of Sacramento, California, received a 33-day continuation on Thursday, buying him additional time to bring on replacement counsel for his high-profile lawsuit.

Postle claimed in a statement in an online hearing before presiding judge Shama H. Mesiwala that it may be a couple of weeks before he would have replacement counsel. When pressed, Postle claimed to be waiting until “next week” on a decision from an unspecified law firm as to whether it would represent him. Postle also asserted that he was seeking a continuance of up to 120 days to allow the unnamed law firm to come up to speed and to allow additional discovery in the case to occur.

Attorneys for two of the case’s 12 defendants, Veronica Brill and Todd Witteles, were on hand to argue that if any second continuance was granted, it should be of a far shorter duration. Judge Mesiwala herself noted the highly unusual circumstances, declaring:

“It’s pretty rare that you can come to court and just ask for a continuance. 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.”
Nonetheless, the judge granted Postle his shorter-than-hoped-for continuance, with the next hearing scheduled for April 20, 2021. Judge Mesiwala also declared that granting an anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) motion already filed by Witteles and Brill would be a “draconian” solution, despite multiple deficiencies to date in Postle’s legal complaint.

In a countering argument, in one of only a couple of mildly heated moments in what was generally a brief and congenial hearing, Brill attorney Marc Randazza argued that California law demanded an anti-SLAPP motion be ruled upon in 30 days, one continuance had already been granted, and it was also draconian for the case’s defendants to perpetually have a “$300 million lawsuit” hanging over their heads. Judge Mesiwala noted the validity of that argument yet still chose the middle road, granting Postle the time extension but forcing him to move quickly before the next court date.

Postle has represented himself since his original attorney filed a motion to be recused from the case in December, with that motion being granted in January. One point not brought by the judge or by either side was that Postle, in his filing for the second continuation, claimed that his first attorney, Steven T. Lowe, had dropped out of the lawsuit over a lack of experience in online-defamation litigation. However, Lowe cited Postle’s lack of communication and a breach of attorney/client contract in filing his successful recusal motion.

Perhaps the most heated assertion came from Randazza when he stated:

"This complaint was filed as a public relations stunt."

Judge Mesiwala quickly intervened and officially announced her ruling. She had already released a preliminary ruling on Wednesday essentially announcing the second continuance would be granted, but she was disappointed by the two sides not being able to agree on the continuance’s length before the hearing began.

The other appearing defense attorney, Eric Benzamochan (for Witteles), complained that Postle continued to dawdle in hiring an attorney but had already retained a PR firm. Though not confirmed directly in court, the remark appeared to relate a Tweet made by defendant Brill on Wednesday. In Postle’s motion for the second continuation, he wrote:

"Plaintiff has just retained an organization specializing in internet based First Amendment and defamation issues…"
Brill, likely after learning of Mesiwala’s preliminary ruling the day before, Tweeted this:

Neither Postle nor the HONR Network has rebutted Brill’s claim to date, while Benzamochan also referenced an exhibit -- as yet publicly unseen -- filed into the case by Postle on February 28th. Benzamochan did not specify the exhibit’s contents or creator.

No trial date has been set in the case. Attorneys for 10 of the 12 defendants, including such prominent entities as ESPN and PokerNews, have not even bothered to appear; according to Witteles’ anti-SLAPP motion, none of the defendants were even properly notified -- in legal terms -- of the $330 million lawsuit’s filing.

If you missed anything connected to the case over the past year, our extensive coverage of the Postlegate scandal can be viewed below:

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Veteran poker and gambling writer/editor Haley Hintze has provided content throughout the gambling world for nearly 20 years. Widely known for her work on online poker's insider-cheating scandals in the late 2000s, she's been a two-time Global Poker Awards finalist and a prior finalist for Women in ...Read more


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