Full Tilt Sued in California Court over Alleged UIGEA Violations

by , Apr 30, 2009 | 10:33 am

I’m still trying to figure out what it all means … who the plaintiffs are, and what they’re seeking. The best I can tell on first skim is that an LA attorney is representing himself, and seeking injunctive relief in an attempt to prevent Californians from gambling across state lines — i.e. James B. Hicks wants the site shut down.

This may or may not be connected to proposed legislation in California to allow players to gamble online within state lines.

Developing, obviously.

Click here to download and read the lawsuit.

UPDATE: Looks like this likely is a nuisance shakedowny kinda case … though personally I’m still suspicious that the proposed California intrastate online gambling bill might have something to do with it. From the Pokerati legal advisory team’s Cali branch:

This is really an attorney driven case under a California law called the “Unfair Competition Law” (UCL) that basically says, in part, that if any party is committing an act that is “unlawful” (i.e., violates a statute), that party can be enjoined from those unlawful acts and…..must pay the plaintiff’s attorneys fees. In other words, there probably is no harm to the plaintiff, but that may be irrelevant. This is really just a vehicle to get some attorneys fees paid.

13 Comments to “Full Tilt Sued in California Court over Alleged UIGEA Violations”

  1. Kevin Mathers

    Guy sounds like a kook at first glance.

  2. DanM

    Yeah, but it’s a ritzy address. I don’t know enough about California politics, but I just gotta think it can’t all be happening in a vacuum with pending “controversial” legislation.

    Also brings up the game of skill vs. chance thing (which is partly why Tiltware is supposedly in violation of the UIGEA, according to the claims) … but haven’t California courts already ruled poker to be a game of skill?

    Another possibility is that this guy is simply trying to shake them down for some cash to make him go away.

  3. Pauly

    Ritzy and kook are one in the same in California.

  4. scott diamond

    Obviously a Losing Full Tilt Player, but this is California Courts, I have seen stranger cases!

  5. Kevin Mathers

    Assuming it’s the same guy, I don’t think FTP’s going to be able to get $500k out of him for filing a frivolous lawsuit:


  6. DanM

    Ooh, nice find Mathers. Yeah, it’s all starting to shake down like a low-budget shakedown. The latest from my California attorney friend who supplied the update:

    I am totally speculating that it is an attorney driven suit, of course, but the only remedy they seek is equitable relief and fees, so it’s at least a fair inference. Let me clarify a quick point — the UCL does have an “injury in fact” requirement under a new statute (referred to as Proposition 64). That means the plaintiff will ultimately need to prove some injury, namely loss of money or property. That will not be hard to prove if he lost $ on the poker site. But then the plaintiff could be in trouble – the plaintiff is seeking “equitable” relief and a plaintiff who invokes equity must come to the Court with “clean hands.” Basically, you cannot break the law (which the plaintiff alleges happens w/ internet poker) and then sue the poker site (for the same unlawful conduct) and ask the court for equitable relief. Good for the goose/gander sort of thing.

  7. DanM

    And here’s a blog all about California’s Unfair Competition Law:


  8. Kevin Mathers

    Here’s another strike against the attorney, he recently has come back from being suspended from practicing law for a year:


  9. DanM

    More good stuff. I found two things interesting from his bar record you link to:

    1) the dude went to yale undergrad and harvard law … so clearly he’s no idiot.

    2) he got disciplined just last month, so the possibility that he’s on tilt is strong.

  10. Kevin Mathers

    Just to add this to the record the case where he got his suspension:


  11. DanM

    It looks like malpractice? yet he cooperated so he can operate under probation?

  12. Brian G.

    I am an attorney and read the Complaint. Without reading the statutes, my gut instinct is that that the Internet Gaming Act does not give a private right of action, so the attorney had to get it under the California state law likely provides for a private right of action. It really all depends on if he can survive a Motion to Dismiss.

  13. Rick K.

    Full Tilt sent me a bad check and refuses to pay the fees my bank charged me in Feb of 2010