Sunday, March 18, 2007

"WPT Seven" Move For Summary Judgment

Calling them the "WPT Seven" ought to wrankle both sides a bit.

What the moniker refers to, of course, is the group of seven leading pros who filed an antitrust action against the World Poker Tour last July, calling a special press conference at the WSOP to annpnce the suit. The seven players are Annie Duke, Andy Bloch, Joe Hachem, Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson, Phil Gordon, and Greg Raymer, and the WPT is, well, the WPT.

Very little had happened in this case once the initial noise had subsided, until this past week, when the seven players filed for a summary judgment in their complaint against the WPT. Moving for a summary judgment implies that one side believes that their case is so strong that there's simply no need to proceed to trial; in these cases, the evidence is purported to be so overwhelming that the judge can rule on the matter without going through the bother of the complete trial.

However, lawyers often make a grandstand play with the "summary judgment" card, using it as a chance to grab some headlines, or to try to tip a case headed strongly in the opposite direction. In the most recent poker example, Jamie Gold's lawyer filed for a summary judgment in the matter of the $6 million dispute with Crispin Leyser and basically got laughed out of court for his trouble.

This one's unusual because antitrust matters are rarely so simple. It seems unlikely that the matter could be resolved so clearly and easily, which means it's most likely an attempt to focus a spotlight on the matter and force the WPT to deal with the situation. In the very likely event that the motion is denied, then this becomes a no-news news story... and it's been that type of a week.

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