Stones Gambling Hall, Kings Casino File Amended Motions to Dismiss Postlegate Lawsuit6 months ago
Stones Gambling Hall parent King’s Casino Management and “Stones Live!” director Justin Kuraitis have filed amended motions to dismiss the high-profile poker cheating lawsuit centered on California poker pro Mike Postle. Stones and Kuraitis, who are co-defendants in the $10 million case brought by 89 plaintiffs and participants in the livestreamed cash games featuring Postle, filed their responses in a Sacramento federal court last week.
The separate but coordinated filings hit the case docket just a few days prior to the first hearing in the case, which was held on Monday, May 18. The two revised motions to dismiss the civil action came in response to an amended and expanded complaint filed a couple of weeks earlier by Maurice “Mac” VerStandig, the primary attorney for the aggrieved players.
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The revised dismissal motion by Stones Gambling Hall steered clear of making the same type of blunders as in its initial defense filing. In that earlier filing, Stones and its counsel received widespread public criticism for declaring that it assumed no responsibility for any cheating that had occurred on its premises, even if that cheating was done in coordination with one or more Stones employees, as alleged in the lawsuit. Such a blanket disavowal of its consumer-protection responsibilities had many onlookers declaring that the California-licensed card room was no better than an unregulated, underground game.
Despite avoiding such declarations, however, the latest filing by Stones counsel Mark Mao still hit many of the same themes. Mao again proclaimed as his primary argument that “California Law Bars Plaintiffs’ Claims for Gambling Related Losses,” even though California gambling laws themselves have been revised several times in the decades since the state legalized card rooms.
The closest Mao came to repeating the earlier public-opinion gaffe came in his revised to plaintiffs’ ongoing negligence claim against the casino. Mao wrote:
“Plaintiffs put forward several theories of a potential negligence duty of care, but ignore the key reality that Stones did not owe them a duty of care enforceable through a negligence claim to protect them from potential cheaters.”
The bald repudiation of any “care” responsibilities will again cause many onlookers to cringe, though such a harsh stance appears vital to Stones’ contributory defense if the cheating involving Postle is proven in court.
Stones’ counsel also furthered its argument against a libel accusation brought by Veronica Brill, the case’s lead plaintiff. The slander charge was brought after Stones and its employees were alleged to have trashed Brill following her first attempts to bring accusations of Postle’s alleged cheating to Kuraitis, who ran the “Stones Live!” operation.
Stones, which denigrated Brill in a posting on its Twitter business account, attempted to parse its post, blind-referencing Brill to depict the text as not being libelous. Mao wrote:
“Stones did not, as Plaintiffs suggest, make 'a public statement' – that Ms. Brill’s allegations about Mr. Postle were ‘completely fabricated.’ ... The tweet generically referred to ‘allegations.’ … The assertion that Stones’ tweet referred to Ms. Brill because both Ms. Brill’s allegations and Stones’ tweet were on Twitter is not sufficient.”
The Tweet was made on September 29, 2019. Though it did not name Brill, it was clearly about her and her claims:
These topics and more were broached in Monday’s hearing, in which VerStandig, Mao, Kuraitis counsel William Pachter and Mike Postle himself participated. Several weeks are likely to elapse before presiding US District Judge William Shubb rules on the dismissal motions.
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