Mike Postle update: Attorneys Seek To Be Removed As Counsel From Defamation Case

Mike Postle’s Lawyers Are Abandoning Ship Due To Breach Of Written Agreement, Lack Of Communication

Those waiting for a Mike Postle update got their wish last week. This seemingly never-ending story began with accusations of cheating during a series of live-streamed poker games. It then spiraled into multiple lawsuits involving dozens of players, the poker room where the games took place, its manager, and Postle himself.

The latest twist in the saga is that the attorneys representing Postle in his $330 million defamation lawsuit have abruptly filed to remove themselves from the case.

According to the filing, Postle “failed to comply with the written agreement between the firm and the client, and communication has otherwise ceased between the client and attorney.”

Gaming attorney Maurice “Mac” VerStandig shared the news about Postle’s attorneys over Twitter last week. Having represented the players suing Postle in previous suits, VerStandig is likely limited by the terms of a settlement in what he can say publicly. Instead, he let the court filing speak for itself:

As the filing indicates, the hearing to settle the matter of Steven T. Lowe and the Lowe & Associates firm removing themselves from the case is scheduled for January 14, 2021.

The latest twist in a lengthy legal saga

VerStandig represented more than 80 poker players in multiple lawsuits. The defendants in these were Postle, Kings Casino, and its poker room manager Justin Kuraitis.

The first were filed in October 2019 and listed multiple causes of action. Plaintiffs alleged Postle had received information about opponents’ hole cards while playing on the “Stones Live Poker” live stream at the Stones Gambling Hall. The establishment is owned by Postle’s co-defendant Kings Casino, and located outside of Sacramento, California.

Armed with such knowledge, Postle was able to achieve an improbably high win rate in the games, the plaintiffs claimed. Postle allegedly won more than $250,000 in games played through 2018 and 2019.

In the lawsuit, affected players sought $30 million in damages from Postle, Kings Casino, and Kuraitis.

In April, defendants in the lawsuits filed motions to dismiss. Then in June, Judge William B. Shubb of the Eastern District of California ruled to dismiss the lawsuits, citing various technicalities as well as a lack of evidence.

The dismissal was “with leave to amend” providing plaintiffs could provide further support for their allegations. A new lawsuit against Kings Casino and Kuraitis was subsequently filed, but in September that case ended with a settlement involving 60 plaintiffs.

Reportedly, those 60 plaintiffs received $40,000 total from the Stones Gambling Hall’s owners according to the terms of the settlement.

Attorneys departure leaves future of Postle defamation lawsuit uncertain

While the non-settling plaintiffs were still contemplating their next move, Postle filed his own defamation lawsuit in early October seeking $330 million in damages.

The list of individuals and entities targeted by Postle’s suit is lengthy. Postle targeted not just his original accusers, but multiple other entities and poker personalities he feels presented the story unfairly. The list of defendants includes:

  • Veronica Brill, who originally blew the whistle on his alleged cheating
  • ESPN
  • Joey Ingram
  • Haralabos Voulgaris
  • Daniel Negreanu
  • Todd Witteles
  • PokerNews
  • Crush Live Poker (owned by Bart Hanson)
  • Run It Once (owned by Phil Galfond)
  • Upswing Poker (owned by Doug Polk)
  • Poker Coaching (owned by Jonathan Little)
  • Solve for Why Academy (owned by Matt Berkey)

Postle’s several complaints include those related to defamation, libel, and infliction of emotional distress.

One of the defendants, Todd Witteles, responded last week by filing an anti-SLAPP motion against Postle for infringing on his right to free speech. That case is scheduled to be heard on February 10, 2021.

Meanwhile, it remains to be seen what will come of Postle’s lawsuit now that his attorneys have chosen to remove themselves from the case. It may simply disappear if he lacks the funds to pursue it further, or might proceed with new representation. In any event, the anti-SLAPP motion by Witteles makes it likely that there are still at least one or two more updates to the Mike Postle saga left to come in the new year.

- Martin Harris is a writer and teacher who has reported on poker, online gambling, and sports betting since the mid-2000s. Once a full-time academic (Ph.D., English), he currently teaches part-time in the American Studies program at UNC Charlotte. His book Poker & Pop Culture was published by D&B Books in 2019.
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