Former online poker giant Full Tilt Poker is reportedly close to striking a deal with the United States Department of Justice that would see American players being paid some of the money owed to them.
As part of the deal, the Department of Justice would dismiss the civil forfeiture proceedings against Full Tilt Poker, removing any liability for shareholders of the company. The individual civil proceedings against defendants in the Black Friday indictments would remain. Some of the big names named in the case include Ray Bitar, Chris Ferguson, and Howard Lederer.
The individuals have until March 19th to respond to the suit.
The good news is a continuation of breaks that the company has gotten recently. A report by the Bloomberg Business News Agency says that a $150 million civil lawsuit against Raymond Bitar, Full Tilt Poker, Pocket Kings Ltd, 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 was thrown out on Monday.
U.S. District Court Judge Leonard B. Sand wrote in his opinion that "It remains unclear whether the direct cause of the plaintiffs’ injuries was the decision by the U.S. Attorney’s office to temporarily shut down the Full Tilt poker website and seize the company’s assets or was instead as plaintiffs’ conversion allegations suggest, the subsequent decision by one or more of the defendants to halt player withdrawals.”
“The mere fact that Full Tilt Poker customers maintained player accounts on the website that they subsequently could not access is therefore insufficient to establish a conversion claim against these defendants. Nor have Plaintiffs alleged any additional facts, demonstrating that either company exercised control over the player accounts, or played any role in the decision to prevent Full Tilt Poker customers from withdrawing the money in their accounts."
The judge finished his ruling by saying that the lawsuit cannot go ahead with the individuals named in the complaint, but could proceed with the defendants Pocket Kings, Vantage Ltd, and Filco.
“Plaintiffs have pled sufficient facts to establish a plausible inference that defendants Pocket Kings, Vantage and Filco ‘played some role’ in the conversion. The fact that the three defendants worked together to maintain the Full Tilt website makes it plausible to infer that they also worked together to block Plaintiffs’ access to the money in their accounts. We therefore deny Defendants’ motion to dismiss the conversion claims against defendants Pocket Kings, Vantage and Filco but grant it with respect to Tiltware and Pocket Kings Consulting." the judge wrote.