Rational Entertainment, the parent company of PokerStars, won a small victory in its ongoing legal dispute with Kelly Sonnenberg last week when a federal judge sided granted the company’s request for a Protective Order Staying Discovery.
Sonnenberg is seeking damages from PokerStars based on an Illinois statute that allows recovery of losses stemming from illegal gambling.
In a 3-page order, Judge Stephen C. Williams emphatically rejected Sonnenberg’s requests for additional discovery, stating that the “pending dispositive motion concerns threshold questions with narrow issues that require no further fact discovery, and Defendant would be prejudiced if they engaged in voluminous unnecessary discovery only to have their dispositive motion prove meritorious. The Court finds that discovery here would be burdensome, and it should be deferred.”
But the Court did not use the ruling to comment on the merit of Sonnenberg’s requests.
Instead, the Court sidestepped the issue, saying that “this Order is not intended to address objections to the discovery itself; and the Court declines to find that any of the propounded discovery was inappropriate. Should the case survive, the Court will address any objections at that time.”
The most immediate concern for PokerStars was Sonnenberg’s attempts to force the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement to hand over all materials related to Rational’s application for an Interim Casino Authorization, information that Rational considered “personal, confidential and private.”
Williams’ order instructs Sonnenberg to “withdraw her subpoenas to third parties.”
With the discovery issue settled for now, the next step in the process is a hearing on Rational’s Motion to Dismiss Sonnenberg’s suit. There’s no scheduled date for that hearing as far as I’m aware, but Williams’ order suggests that we could see a hearing within the next four months.
Should that hearing fail to resolve the issue, the parties will head closer to an actual trial. At this point, the tentative trial date is April of 2015.