Anti-SLAPP ruling to reimburse Witteles for defense against anti-defamation suit from Postle
The poker world at large didn’t get what it wanted in the Mike Postle saga, as the alleged poker cheater got away from one of the biggest scandals in the history of the game relatively unscathed.
Postle’s attempts to collect on a defamation suit against various members of the poker community, however, resulted in a small victory for his detractors Wednesday.
Postle filed a $330 million defamation lawsuit against Veronica Brill, Todd Witteles, and 10 other defendants, later dropping the case. In response to that, Brill and Witteles filed anti-SLAPP motions against Postle, seeking to recoup legal fees incurred in defending against his suit.
A Wednesday ruling from the California Superior Court awarded $26,982 in damages to Witteles. As first reported by CardsChat’s Haley Hintze Tuesday, Witteles was seeking a total of $43,314.50 in compensation.
A ruling on Brill’s anti-SLAPP motion is expected to be announced next week.
A small victory for the poker community in the ongoing Mike Postle saga
Postle stood at the center of poker’s biggest story of 2019. After more than a year of incredible wins on live streamed games at Sacramento’s Stones Gambling Hall, the player’s bizarre lines and seemingly clairvoyant knowledge of opponent’s hole cards weren’t sitting well with Brill.
Brill, who was on Stones commentary for many of those hands throughout 2018 and 2019, publicly accused Postle of cheating. Those allegations went viral in the poker world and beyond, with even ESPN reporting on the scandal at one point.
Brill, along with 87 other plaintiffs, filed a $30 million lawsuit against Postle, Stones Gambling Hall, and poker room manager Justin Kuraitis. That suit ended with 61 of the 88 plaintiffs taking an undisclosed settlement, and an effective exoneration of the casino and Kuraitis from plaintiff’s counsel Mac VerStandig.
While Postle was never publicly exonarted by the courts or VerStandig, poker’s most famous alleged cheater went on the offensive nonetheless. His anti-defamation suit asked for $330 million in damages from Brill, Witteles, Daniel Negereanu, Phil Galfond, ESPN, and seven other defendants.
Unable to maintain a legal team for the suit, Postle voluntarily dropped the case. The voluntary decision to drop the suit opened Postle to anti-SLAPP, (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation). Anti-SLAPP motions protect defendants in defamation cases, discouraging plaintiffs in those cases from using the threat of incurred legal fees to prompt defendants to drop their criticism of the plaintiff.
Postle’s shift from the accused to the accuser didn’t pay off in the battle against Witteles. Even if Brill collects a similar sum next week, the poker world likely still feels that Postle got off easy from what was possibly poker’s biggest cheating scandal of all time.
Featured image source: Twitter