Rational Files Motion to Dismiss Claim in Kentucky Domain Name Case

PokerStars parent company filed a motion to dismiss in the 2008 case in which the Commonwealth of Kentucky attempted to seize 141 internet domain names they claimed were being used as gambling devices.

As first reported by Chris Grove at onlinepokerreport.com, PokerStars justifies its position by outlining the key reasons for which it believes Kentucky’s claims are invalid.

Rational argues that the Commonwealth of Kentucky “lacks in rem jurisdiction” over the pokerstars.com domain name as the state “never established actual or constructive control” over the domain: A claim the US Department of Justice for the Southern District of New York also made in its motion to dismiss the claims last year.

“Kentucky […] has no ownership interest in the domain names; has never exercised possession, dominion or control over them; and thus lacks standing to assert a claim in this action,” attorneys for the DOJ argued in 2012.

As evidence that Kentucky lacked control over the domain, Rational cited the fact that SDNY had in rem jurisdiction over the domain and demonstrated such by posting seizure notices on the site on Black Friday.

Rational also sought to dismiss the action by Kentucky by proving that domain names are not considered gambling devices under Kentucky law and are therefore not subject to seizure: A claim that the Kentucky Court of Appeals upheld in 2009 and was not disturbed by the Kentucky Supreme Court’s action on the case in 2010.

In addition, Rational also contends that such a seizure would “violate U.S and Kentucky constitutional provisions“ by inhibiting free speech, interfering with commerce, encroaching on the sovereignty of extraterritorial jurisdictions and allowing “uncompensated takings of property.”

Last month, the Commonwealth of Kentucky reached a settlement agreement with the federal government in which the state received $6 million and agreed to dismiss its claims against the Full Tilt and Absolute Poker domains.

The following week, Kentucky settled an outstanding case with bwin.party stemming from a 2010 civil case “to recover online gambling losses by Kentucky residents.”