Updates In Kentucky vs Pokerstars Case
Saturday December 19,2015 : BEHAVIOUR OF PREVIOUS OWNER INFLUENCED JUDGE IN KENTUCKY CASE (Update)
Judge Wingate's original judgement was for $535,951,020.
In an interesting postscript to reports earlier this week that a Kentucky judge had issued a $290,000 damages order against Pokerstars parent group Amaya Inc., the publication Flushdraw reports that it has seen the original 18-page judgement, and that presiding Judge Wingate had initially awarded $535,951,020 against Amaya.
"The $290 million judgment issued by [Judge] Wingate is a partial summary judgment in the ongoing case, rendered in large part by Wingate on a single development: The failure of former PokerStars co-founder and primary owner Isai Scheinberg to provide himself for deposition, as ordered by the court in 2014," the online publication reports.
Flushdraw gives a chronological account of developments in the case, which included orders by the court that Scheinberg and one of his executives, Pinhas Schapira, appear to be deposed. The judge perceived failures to meet these orders as "nothing more than a delaying tactic" whilst the sale of Pokerstars’ parent company to Amaya was being pushed through.
That ultimately led to Judge Wingate granting an application for a partial summary judgement by Kentucky's legal representatives in August 2015, along with a default summary judgment as a sanction for failure to comply with the court’s discovery orders on the former Pokerstars executives.
The following month, the Commonwealth of Kentucky estimated damages to be $535,951,020, derived from a combination of public data and information received from a previous litigant, Party Gaming, which had earlier reached its own $15 million settlement with the state. Judge Wingate accepted this estimate.
In October Amaya provided gaming data regarding Kentucky player action on Pokerstars between October 2006 and April 2011, causing Judge Wingate to revise his order down to $290 million, but the judge declined a subsequent appeal in November that he reconsider his judgement, saying:
“The Defendants have engaged in what can only be characterized as a pattern of delay and obfuscation throughout the course of this litigation.
“The rules of civil procedure and judicial discretion are not tools ripe for the manipulation of the fair and efficient administration of justice.
“First the defendants refused to satisfactorily comply with discovery orders despite the Court’s continued patience. Then, the Defendants attempted to remove the case to federal court, during the pendency of which they completed the sale of their respective companies to Amaya.”
Amaya has already publicly indicated that it intends to appeal the ruling, and has also noted that it will seek recovery against the former owners of the PokerStars business if its appeals fail.