Full Tilt now faced with class action lawsuit

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Jul 01, 2011 Posted in Poker News | No Comments »

One lawsuit goes away and another one appears to take its place, so is the saga of Full Tilt Poker after Black Friday. Just when the beleaguered online poker room thought it was making some headway in resolving its problems in repaying US poker players who can no longer participate in games at the site –rumors of an imminent sale of shares of the company would bring in the necessary capital to make good on these payments, a new Class Action lawsuit has been filed against Full Tilt Poker by a group of poker players.

Named as defendants in the class action lawsuit are Full Tilt owners Raymond Bitar and Nelson Burtnick –both were indicted by the US government on Black Friday—and more interestingly was the addition of the entire roster of Team Full Tilt: Howard Lederer, Phil Ivey, Chris Ferguson, John Juanda, Jennifer Harman-Traniello, Phil Gordon, Erick Lindgren, Erik Seidel, Andy Bloch, Mike Matusow, Gus Hansen, Allen Cunningham, and Patrik Antonius. The complaint also left open the possibility of more defendants, should secret or unknown shareholders come to light, in the form of John Doe 1-100.

The plaintiffs named in the suit are Steve Segal, Nick Hammer, Robin Hougdahl, and Todd Terry who filed the complaint on behalf of Full Tilt account holders residing in the United States. The damages sought are the same amount as Phil Ivey’s lawsuit, $150 million. Here is a look at some of the suit’s finer points that will likely keep many high-stakes poker players up tonight:

* “Perhaps most importantly, all members of the Team [Full Tilt] own an equity interest in—and are directors of—the Full Tilt and/or the entities that operate under the Full Tilt name.”

o “Perhaps most importantly, all members of the team [Team Full Tilt] own an equity interest in –and are directors of—the Full Tilt, and/or the entities that operate under the Full Tilt name”

o The suit also claims Phil Ivey owns at least 5% of the company

* “U.S. players are wrongfully denied access to approximately $150 million (USD) in funds they deposited in their own Player Accounts. After deceitfully separating U.S. players from their money, Full Tilt Poker 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.”

In what could turn out to be a case of bad timing –since the lawsuit was filed the day before the rumors of the possible sale came to light—the players filing the suit with the best intentions have hopefully not damaged the chance of an agreement being reached between Full Tilt and the new investor group.

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