The multi-million lawsuit against Mike Postle, Stones Gambling Hall and Justin Kuraitis, arising from a massive cheating scandal which erupted last year, has now been dismissed. US District Court Judge William B. Shubb this week released his ruling which was primarily based on California law, preventing the recovery of gambling losses in the state.
In September 2019, Postle was exposed by poker player and former Stones commentator Veronica Brill in a series of tweets, alleging he cheated during livestreamed cash games at the California gambling venue.
The shocking revelation led to a massive lawsuit filed by 90 plaintiffs (including Brill) who claimed Postle robbed them of their hard earned money, amounting to around $250,000, by employing tactics with the aid of an accomplice, which allowed him to have access to the hole cards of his opponents. The plaintiffs were represented by noted gaming attorney Maurice “Mac” VerStandig.
On May 18, Judge Shubb heard oral arguments from Postle, Stones, and Kuraitis on their separate motions to dismiss the lawsuit filed against them. Upon the conclusion of the hearing, it was unclear whether or not the judge would side with the defendants. His position was made clear on June 3 when he junked the case, clearing all three of them.
California Law Stands
In dismissing the lawsuit, Judge Shubb cited existing California law which prohibits any judicial intervention for the recovery of gambling losses. Because of this, the case cannot proceed, with the suit against Postle effectively junked with prejudice – meaning the plaintiffs cannot refile a similar case against him.
The judge wrote that the asserted damages are “quintessential gambling losses” and are inherently speculative, based on established rule laid out in a previous similar case – Kelly v. First Astri Corp.
Judge Shubb also dismissed a request for sanctions earlier filed by the plaintiffs against Postle for allegedly letting someone else write his motion to dismiss when he was serving as his own attorney, violating the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (Rule 11). The judge said “the court sees no reason to impose sanctions”, and therefore the request should be denied.
The plaintiffs accused Postle of using electronic transmissions via his cellphone in carrying out his cheating, in breach of the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization Act (RICO). The judge also junked this claim, saying “gambling losses are not sufficient injury to business of property.”
Similarly, allegations of fraud made against Stones have been dismissed, as the claims lacked specific details, such as the exact amount of rake during each game, and the players’ individual contributions. The judge said the plaintiffs only came up with a “general allegation” with regards to the cost of the rake.
Furthermore, the complainants also failed to support their claim of negligent representation, as they did not disclose the true identity of Postle’s alleged confederate in their initial filing.
Likewise, a libel claim from Brill arising from accusations which had been branded as “completely fabricated” by Stones in a tweet, was also junked because there wasn’t any proof that the tweet was intentionally directed towards her as the lawsuit involved dozens of plaintiffs.
The same fraud and negligence charges against Kuraitis were also dismissed.
While a dismissal with prejudice was granted to Postle, Judge Shubb gave the plaintiffs 20 days to refile an amended claim against Stones and Kuraitis, citing that the rake is considered a fee that is not covered by California’s public policy on gambling losses.
Plaintiffs Eyeing Amended Complaint Versus Stones, Kuraitis
Commenting on the ruling, VerStandig said he was disappointed that Postle will now go scot-free, but the gaming attorney also expressed their intention to pursue the fight against Stones and Kuraitis with an amended complaint.
But for whistleblower Brill, the judge’s ruling implies that you can actually cheat on a live stream and avoid accountability, and your accomplices will also go unpunished. The poker player also criticized the California law that formed the main principle behind the ruling, saying the civil case was dismissed because “cheating at poker in California is legal.”
As of this writing, Mike Postle has remained tightlipped on the ruling.