Chris Ferguson, Phil Gordon, et al. Move for Judgment Against the World Poker Tour

Wpt_largeIn a press release sent by their shysters at Dewey Ballantine LLP, it was announced that Chris Ferguson, Andrew Bloch, Annie Duke, Phil Gordon, Joseph Hachem, Howard Lederer, and Greg Raymer have filed a motion for summary judgment today against WPT Enterprises, Inc. in federal district court in Los Angeles, claiming that they have “presented undisputed facts whcih establish that WPTE, which owns the World Poker Tour (“WPT”), has committed multiple violations of federal antitrust laws.”

You can read the entire release after the jump and for the back story, check out the past Wicked Chops Poker posts on the lawsuit:

:: World Poker Tour Extends Its Middle Finger to Chris Ferguson, Andy Bloch, Howard Lederer, Joe Hachem, Greg Raymer, Phil Gordon, and Annie Duke – (commentary on the WPT’s response to the lawsuit)

:: Sued – (comparing the WPT to Britney Spears)

A copy of the actual motion for summary judgment can be found at http://www.wptlawsuit.com/.

Players Argue That WPTE’s Illegal Agreements Constitute “Per Se” and “Quick
Look” Violations of the Antitrust Laws

LOS ANGELES, March 14 /PRNewswire/ — Today, seven of the world’s
leading professional poker players filed a motion for summary judgment
against WPT Enterprises, Inc. (“WPTE”) in federal district court in Los
Angeles. In their motion for summary judgment, Plaintiffs Chris Ferguson,
Andrew Bloch, Annie Duke, Phil Gordon, Joseph Hachem, Howard Lederer, and
Greg Raymer have presented undisputed facts which establish that WPTE,
which owns the World Poker Tour (“WPT”), has committed multiple violations
of federal antitrust laws.

Specifically, the Plaintiffs seek a summary declaration by the Court
that WPTE and the casinos which host WPT events have unlawfully conspired
to force poker players to sign non-negotiable “releases” that require those
players to grant WPTE the right to use their valuable names, likenesses,
voices and images for zero compensation so that WPTE can exploit these
rights to promote its own products and services. The Plaintiffs contend
that the undisputed facts establish that WPTE and the casinos have agreed
to boycott and exclude from WPT events any poker player who does not sign
such a “release.” The Plaintiffs have also offered undisputed evidence that
WPTE and the casinos are conspiring to restrict the number of poker
tournaments in competition with the WPT by agreeing that the casinos cannot
sponsor any televised non-WPT events. The Plaintiffs contend that these
agreements constitute “per se” or “quick look” violations of federal
antitrust laws. The “per se” and “quick look” tests apply to conduct which
is so inherently anticompetitive that a court may summarily decide that
such conduct violates U.S. antitrust laws without the need for full
discovery or a trial.

If the motion is granted, WPTE will be permanently enjoined from: (1)
agreeing with the casinos to require the Plaintiffs and other poker players
to sign releases granting WPTE the right to use those players’ intellectual
property rights to promote WPTE products and services; (2) using the grant
of Plaintiffs’ intellectual property rights obtained from past releases;
and (3) prohibiting casinos from sponsoring non-WPT poker tournaments.

Jeffrey Kessler, lead counsel for the poker players, stated: “If the
players prevail in this summary judgment motion, WPTE’s unlawful agreements
will come to a quick end without the need for further discovery or a trial.
All poker players would then be able to compete in WPT tournaments without
being forced to give up their valuable intellectual property rights for no
compensation and the casinos would be free to sponsor competing televised
poker tournaments of their own.”

A copy of the public version of Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment
will be available at http://www.wptlawsuit.com/.

Plaintiffs are represented by the law firm of Dewey Ballantine LLP,
whose attorneys have successfully represented NFL, NBA, and other players
in similar antitrust lawsuits.

About Dewey Ballantine LLP

Dewey Ballantine LLP, founded in 1909, is an international law firm
with more than 550 attorneys and locations in New York, Washington, D.C.,
Los Angeles, East Palo Alto, Austin, London, Warsaw, Frankfurt, Milan,
Beijing, and Rome. Through its network of offices, the firm handles some of
the largest and most complex legal matters in the world.

 

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