After the news about a probable investment into the Full Tilt Poker site went public, US poker players decided to take action. Three players then went ahead and filed a class action lawsuit against the portal in a New York court. Three players Robin Hougdahl, Nick Hammer and Tod Terry filed the suit against the Full Tilt Poker site for not being able to pay their balances to poker players in the US. The suit is looking for “return of U.S. player funds and…damages under the RICO statute.”
A few interesting elements in the lawsuit centers around the specific defendants’ names in the filing. In the Justice Department’s indictments against Full Tilt, the names of the founders Nelson Burtnick and Ray Bitar have been mentioned among the defendants.
Although, the class action suit also mentions names of the some of the top professional players of Full Tilt like Gus Hansen, Howard Lederer Erick Lindgren, John Juanda, Phil Ivey, Andy Bloch, Patrik Antonius, Mike Matusow, Jennifer Harman, Allen Cunningham, Erik Seidel, Chris Ferguson, and Phil Gordon.
In the filing there has also been a mention of “Joe Does 1-100” leaving the case open to a 100 additional defendants. This could have resulted to the deficit of public information about the internal operations of the company. Although most of them agree that members of Full Tilt Poker functioned as spokespersons for the site, some of them indulged themselves in executive functions and there is very less agreement on what kind of roles were assumed by which players. For example, the suit claims that Ivey has a 5% stake in the company, although the base of this information still remains ambiguous.
In the suit, the plaintiffs have decided to represent all the account holders of Full Tilt Poker in the United States and the suit also states that “refuses to refund the U.S. Players’ deposits, to reimburse U.S. players for the dollar-value of the contents of their Player Accounts, or to permit U.S. players access to their Player Accounts.” There is an approximate $150 million locked up and inaccessible to the players in the US according to the suit.
After Ivey said that he is going to cancel his lawsuit against Tilt, the news about the class action lawsuit broke out and David Chesnoff, Ivey’s lawyer has mentioned that the lawsuit has been withdrawn because “he believes Full Tilt is taking steps to see that the players are paid.”