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Sonnenberg Pokerstars Case Back in Court
Sunday April 27 ,2014 : SONNENBURG ONLINE POKER CASE BACK IN THE ILLINOIS COURTS
Now the son is listed as a plaintiff.
The Illinois class action against Pokerstars launched by Kelly Sonnenberg has been around for what seems like ages, but it entered a new phase this week with the submission of a second complaint.
Our readers may recall that Sonnenberg invoked the Illinois Loss Recovery Act, a state law that allows gambling losers to reclaim their losses from winners, when she launched a class action on behalf of herself and others.
Last (March) month, one count was dismissed in the class action, and Sonnenberg was given until April 12 this year to file an amended complaint.
In dismissing the count, District Judge David R. Herndon said that PokerStars is “more akin to a third party service provider that provides a forum for others to play the game and does not have a stake in how the game is decided.”
In the revised complaint Sonnenberg names as defendants Oldford Group Ltd., Rational Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. and “Unknown Defendants.”
Previous defendants Isai Scheinberg, Paul Tate, Nelson Burtnick, Pyr Software Ltd., Stelekram ltd. and Sphene International Ltd. have been removed.
In a new development, a second amended complaint has been filed in a class action against PokerStars for recovery of gambling losses, this one spearheaded by Sonnenberg's son Casey. Filed April 14 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, Casey Sonnenberg is now listed as a plaintiff in the class action.
The Washington Examiner reports that in three counts in the amended complaint, Kelly Sonnenberg brings her action individually and on behalf of Illinois residents that lost money on PokerStars and wish to recover them in terms of the Illinois statute.
In the remaining nine counts, Casey Sonnenberg brings his action to recover money he lost on PokerStars. He represents a class of similarly situated Illinois residents who gambled and lost money on PokerStars.
Kelly Sonnenberg has consistently claimed that Illinois residents were targeted by the defendants, navigated to the PokerStars website, opened accounts and deposited their own funds into those accounts. Sonnenberg claimed her son incurred a loss, and in terms of the Illinois Lost Recovery Act she attempted to reclaim those losses.
The Illinois Loss Recovery Act allows individuals to collect losses on behalf of third parties, provided those third parties fail to make their own claim within six months of losing the wager.
However, Illinois courts have ruled that the winning player, and not the “keeper of the house,” is liable to the loser, unless the keeper of the house also risks money in the gambling activity (Holmes v. Brickey).
“PokerStars Group acted as a conduit for transmission of the prize money to the winner and it did not risk any of its money in producing the prize money to the winner….Based on the allegations contained in the first amended complaint, plaintiff has not pled that [Rational Entertainment] is a ‘winner,’” Judge Herndon ruled in the Sonnebberg case, finding that the plaintiff had not sufficiently detailed a “loser” or a “loss.”
However, the Judge did find that Sonnenberg has sufficiently alleged that the losses occurred in Illinois through the illegal gambling Internet site, opening the way for a more detailed complaint.
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