Court cases are slow to progress. Sometimes, they even backtrack a bit before moving forward. Such is the case of 88 poker players versus Michael Postle.
The plaintiffs amended their original charges of cheating – fraud, unjust enrichment, negligence, et al in legal terms – in late March to put the number of causes of action up to 11. And that amended complaint was also a chance to grow the number of plaintiffs from 25 to 88.
The named defendants remained the same: Mike Postle, Stones Gambling Hall (King’s Casino), and Stones employee Justin Kuraitis. They had all filed motions to dismiss the original complaint, but since the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on March 26, the defendants had to file new motions.
King’s and Kuraitis did file their motions this week.
Stones’ Motion to Dismiss Amended Complaint
On April 8, King’s Casino Management Corporation (successor of King’s Casino doing business as Stones Gambling Hall) filed a notice of motion and motion to dismiss the plaintiffs’ first amended complaint.
Much of the content of the motion remains the same as the original one, including the basis for dismissal. That is that Brill and the other plaintiffs failed to “state a claim upon which relief may be granted” and to “allege claims of fraud and misrepresentation with the required particularity.”
Again, the memorandum of points and authorities begins by stating that the complaint is essentially the oldest sad story of gamblers, “that their lack of success means they were cheated.” The plaintiffs want Stones to be liable because Postle “won too many hands of poker from them.”
King’s asserts a bit more detail regarding the reasons the plaintiffs’ claims fail:
–1. “Gambling-related losses are not cognizable as damages.” The defendant’s attorney states that the claim is subject to the economic loss rule. “Casinos do not owe a general duty of care to gamblers.”
–2. “Plaintiffs’ fraud claims against Stones – for fraud, constructive fraud, and negligent misrepresentation – still fall short of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 8 and 9b’s pleading standards.” The claim is that the majority of the plaintiffs cannot cite instances when Stones misled them or when they actually lost money to Postle.
–3. Plaintiffs cannot prove negligence nor fraud, as they “rely on innuendos and insinuations that are not substitutes for facts or law.”
In summary, King’s wants the claims against Stones dismissed with prejudice.
Kuraitis’ Motion to Dismiss with King’s
On the same day, April 8, Justin Kuraitis filed his motion to dismiss the first amended complaint and to join in the motion to dismiss filed by King’s Casino Management.
Essentially, as he did before, Kuraitis “expressly relies upon and joins in the motion to dismiss filed by Stones.” And again, he notes that their claim that Postle “somehow cheated” and want to hold Postle responsible “for their supposed (yet wholly unspecified) gambling losses.”
In addition to joining with Stones’ arguments regarding the dismissal of several claims, Kuraitis says the amended complaint doesn’t show how Plaintiff Veronica Brill relied on Kuraitis’ statements regarding the cheating allegations against Postle and how his statements caused her any damage.
The same pertains to two other plaintiffs: Kasey Lyn Mills and Marc Goone.
Kuraitis also says that none of the fraud plaintiffs alleged that they ever played a hand of poker with Postle or lost money to him after discussing their concerns with Kuraitis.
The next filing will likely be a new motion to dismiss from Postle himself. If similar to the last one, he will file to join the Stones’ motion.
Once the court records that document, Mac VerStandig will likely file a response on behalf of the nearly-90 plaintiffs.
There was a pretrial scheduling conference set for July 20, but this date may be subject to change. Since most courts are not doing any in-person meetings at this phase of the coronavirus pandemic, all scheduling may change when courts return to full (or mostly full) functionality.