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Fulltilt Poker : More Legal Trouble
Friday , October 21, 2011 : Two well-known litigants resurface with a new class action, and FTP's lawyers face the wrath of over 200 000 players
In new litigation associated with the Full Tilt Poker debacle, a Philadelphia law firm is facing a class action believed to comprise some 200 000 aggrieved FTP players, according to media reports; and two previous litigants well known to poker players have resurfaced with a new claim.
The names Lary Kennedy and Greg Omotoy will definitely ring a bell with most industry people, who will recall that the duo had more than $80,000 confiscated from their Full Tilt accounts in 2009 following allegations of using bots in contravention of site T&Cs. Their case was dismissed by a Central California District Court in April 2010.
This week the LA Times reports that Kennedy and Omotoy are taking a another run at Full Tilt and associated individuals like Ray Bitar, Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson, Phil Ivey and Gus Hansen in a class action complaint seeking $900 million in damages on grounds of fraud, unjust enrichment, and “a pattern of racketeering."
Full Tilt's legal representative in New York and Philadelphia, Cozen O'Connor, is also facing a class action involving as many as 200 000 players who claim that it should be ordered to disgorge legal fees it received for representing FTP, according to Reuters news reports Friday.
The suit, filed earlier this week in California federal court, claims that Cozen O'Connor received more than $2 million in fees from money laundered through a scheme orchestrated by the companies behind Full Tilt Poker. The lawsuit alleges that Cozen knew or had reason to know that the fees were derived from illegal sources and that it should repay those fees to the plaintiffs.
Cozen's general counsel, Robert Fiebach, has declined to comment on the lawsuit, saying that the law firm had not yet been served with the complaint. The Philadelphia-based firm has about 500 attorneys, with about 80 in New York.
The action, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, alleges fraud, violations of federal anti-racketeering law, unjust enrichment and violations of California civil law against all of the defendants.
Representing the plaintiffs is Cyrus Sanai of Beverly Hills, Calif. Sanai, who asserts that the class comprises about 200,000 consumers, said that a 2010 decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, FTC v. Network Services Depot, enables his clients to recover fees paid to law firms through illegal activity. He alleges that his clients are entitled to about $900 million from all of the named defendants.
The case is Kennedy v. Ferguson, CV-118591, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
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