Summary of the latest events in the Jamie Gold / Crispin Leyser case

I’m not a lawyer, but I’m married to one and surrounded by a number of them, so I’ve picked up some of thier ways.  I’ve taken the time to download the case documents in their case and look them over and have prepared a little summary of the status of the case thus far.

1.  Leyser filed suit in state court in Nevada to claim his share of the proceeds from Gold’s win.

2.  Leyser moved for and received a temporary order restraining Gold from cashing out the  $6 million from  the casino.

3.  Gold applied for the federal court to take over the case on diversity jurisdictional grounds (Leyser is not a US citizen, apparently).  He succeeded in this effort.

4.  Leyser filed for the court to immediately enforce the TRO keeping the $6 million away from Gold.  In pleadings, he suggested that Gold was trying to do an end run around the state court to get at the money.  The federal court did extend the TRO and kept the state court’s order in effect.
5.  Gold objected to the TRO and asked that the court free up the money.
6.  Gold filed an answer to the complaint

7.  The parties agreed on a schedule for discovery.  The cutoff for discovery actions will be March 14, 2007 and the deadline for associated motions will be April 16, 2007.

So, now what?  This will be a period of relatively low public activity.  Both sides will investigate to determine what facts that they can prove about the deal.  They will probably depose Bodog people to figure out what, if anything they knew about the deal and any people who knew the facts of the deal.  None of this is likely to be part of the public record unless they have an ugly fight about the discovery which has to be decided by the judge.  In a case like this, that probably won’t happen.

After the discovery period ends, one or both sides will probably move for summary judgment.  This essentially asks the judge to rule that the other side could not possibly win a trial and asks the judge to decide the case in their favor immediately.  These filing will provide a lot of information about the case, since they will reference whatever proof of their case they have in those pleadings.  So we will probably see a lot of good information in the April, 2007 timeframe.

The issue of the order holding the $6 million at Harrahs will be addressed before that.  I’m not sure what the timeframes are for that and the scheduling orders don’t seem to address it.  If I was an expert on civil procedure, I’m sure that there is some established window for the judge to schedule a hearing and decide.  Gold would have to convince the judge that there is a very little chance Leyser will win in order to get the money freed up, but his filings in support of that motion might provide some insight into Gold’s theory of the case.  If Gold wins that hearing, Leyser is probably cooked, because the standard of what he need to prove to keep the money held is much easier to meet than winning the actual case.  On the other hand, if he secures a permanent order holding the cash, the press is likely to mis-report that as demonstrating that he is very likely to win on the merits, which it doesn’t really mean.

The most interesting bits of the complaint have been published elsewhere, but I can summarize.  Paragraph 10 says that Gold and Leyser met in course of trying to produce a TV show.  Paragraph 12 claims that the deal Gold has with Bodog was that he provide celebs to play wearing Bodog gear in exchange for a seat.  Paragraph 13 says that they entered into a deal where Leyser would get the celebrities and they would split the proceeds from the seat.  He also claims that Gold said Leyser would likely play because Gold couldn’t take that much time away from work.  Paragraph 14 spells out that Leyser recruited Matthew Lillard and Dax Shepard to play for Bodog.  Paragraph 15 claims that Gold said Bodog insisted that he play and that he reaffirmed the 50% deal.  Finally, paragraph 22 transcribes the infamous phone message, the most damning public evidence presented thus far.  It says that Gold stated:

Hey, it’s Jamie, thank you for your message.  I slept pretty well so we should be fine.  I have a real good plan on what to do for today.  Thank you for all your help.  I wanted to let you know about the money.  You’re obviously very well protected, everything will be fine but nothing’s going to happen today, that’s for sure.  I have the best tax attorneys and the best minds in the business working for me from New York and LA and what we’re probably going to do is set up a Nevada Corporation and it’s going to … I have to pay you out of the corporation.  I can’t just pay personally because I could get nailed.  So it might take a few days, so please be patient.  I promise you — you can keep this recording on my word — there’s no possible way you’re not going to your hal … after taxes.  So please just be with me.  I can’t imagine you’re going to have a problem with it.  I just don’t want any stress about any money or any of that shit going on today, or even after the end of the day.  I’m sure you’re going to be fine; you’re going to be very well taken care of, absolutely fairly.  We’re just trying to handle this properly and after now I don’t even want to talk about it or think about it.  But please just trust me.  You’ve trusted me the whole way, you can trust me a little bit more.  I promise you that there’s no way anybody will go anywhere with your money.  It’s your money.  Alright, I send you love, than you for your support …

It seems to be that it is going to be difficult for Gold to deny that they had a deal in the face of that tape.  In his answer, he essentially denies the truth of all of the paragraphs above.  This is a pretty standard lawyer tactic, so you can’t be sure.  If one small aspect of the sentence is out of whack, they will say that they deny it.  Even as to the tape message, they say “Defendant lacks knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth or falsity of the factual allegations contained in pargraph 22.”  Gold also denies that he “now refuses to provide Plaintiff with his $6,000,000” so he may cling to the claim that he was going to pay, eventually.  His affirmative defenses are also interesting, in that he claims that the harm suffered by Leyser was caused in whole or part by a third party (presumably Bodog).  He also seems to be denying that Leyser got the celebs and that Leyser did anything to create a contract.  This seems like something that can be easily confirmed by Lillard or Shepard.  There is also a claim that the contract is governed by California law, which does not permit enforcement of gambling contracts.

I’ll keep an eye on the court pleadings and let you know if the injunction hearing produces anything interesting.  Failing that, we probably will have to wait until next spring to see what happened in discovery.  The period between the end of discovery and the start of trial is also when the case is most likely to settle out of court.

By Nsidestrate

I'm a hard-core limit ring game poker player who is becoming a degenerate sports bettor. I'm sure it will all make more sense if you read on.