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Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson Face New Class Action Lawsuit

Four plaintiffs have filed a new class action lawsuit against former Full Tilt directors, Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson.  The new lawsuit complains that these directors “exercised unlawful dominion and control” over players’ funds in Full Tilt accounts before and after April 15, 2011.  The new case was filed in the Nevada District Court by poker players Nick Hammer, Robin Hougdahl, Steve Segal, and Todd Terry, who previously and unsuccessfully sued the same owners under the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) lawsuit.  The plaintiffs are seeking a court order requiring defendants to refund player accounts and punitive damages in relation to the alleged wrongdoing of both defendants. 

According to Vegas Inc., the plaintiffs and their attorney claim that the actions of Lederer and Ferguson have prevented players from accessing about $150 million in Full Tilt accounts.  The lawsuit alleges that Lederer and Ferguson received about $42 million and $85 million respectively in distribution and profit sharing payments with some of the funds being taken from players’ deposits.  Furthermore, the lawsuit claims that “Defendants approved distributions and loans to the other owners of Full Tilt Poker from funds directly traceable to the player accounts,” and that “The distribution and loans to Lederer, Ferguson, and other Full Tilt Poker owners were from intermingled funds containing monies from the players’ accounts.”  . 

In last year’s RICO lawsuit, the Judge Sands’ court could not establish jurisdiction over the Full Tilt directors and ruled in favour of the defendants.  However, the players’ attorney has offered a new mode of establishing jurisdiction by citing the fact that Lederer and Ferguson are residents of Nevada and that “many of the wrongs and acts complained of herein were contemplated and executed by defendants in this district.”   

Lederer and Ferguson have not offered any comment on the new lawsuit in Las Vegas.  In addition to this lawsuit, there are three other Federal civil lawsuits pending against these defendants, including the one from the United States Department of Justice.  

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