Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson

Staff April 14, 2012
Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson

With the one year anniversary of Black Friday just around the corner, it appears that some poker players decided to celebrate by filing a lawsuit that will likely never see the light of day. It was announced on Friday that Steve Segal, Robin Hougdahl, Nick Hammer, and Todd Terry have all filed a class-action lawsuit against former Full Tilt executives Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson.

In a story reported on first by vegasinc.com and then picked up by pokernews.com, the lawsuit reportedly accused the two of exercising “unlawful dominion and control” over the funds in Full Tilt Poker accounts. The lawsuit alleges that the two were at least partially responsible for players being unable to access $150 Million in player funds.

The lawsuit focuses a great deal on the Ponzi scheme allegations originally brought forth by the United States Department of Justice and the lawsuit points out to distributions of $42 Million to Lederer and $85 Million to Ferguson. It also points to distributions that were paid to other owners where the funds originated in player accounts.

The suit demands the repayment of player funds and also punitive damages upward of $150 Million. This was the second filing by the plaintiffs against Full Tilt Poker. The four filed a lawsuit last year in New York against Lederer, Ferguson, and other officials with the company and levied charges of bank fraud, money laundering, wire fraud, and racketeering. A federal judge ruled in January that they lacked sufficient jurisdiction over the members of Full Tilt.

In this new filing, the four are citing “diversity jurisdiction”, “personal jurisdiction”, and “venue”. Lederer lives in Nevada but Ferguson does not. However, since he does conduct business there, they claim that many of his acts were conducted there.

A response by lawyers for either Lederer, Ferguson, or Full Tilt Poker has not been made. Chances are that they will deny these allegations much the same way they have others in the past. This filing seems like a bit of posturing on the part of the plaintiffs as they would need significant evidence to prove that the two had enough control over funds to have cost players $150 Million. While they did receive significant payments from the company, it is unlikely they had enough control that a class action settlement would be brought against them.

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