US Feds Describe Kentucky Domain Seizure as Unconstitional, Move to Strike State's Claim US Feds Describe Kentucky Domain Seizure as Unconstitional, Move to Strike State's Claim
Chris Breeze, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License

Federal attorneys have moved to strike claims by the Commonwealth of Kentucky in connection with its 2008 seizure of 141 internet domain names connected to online gambling, alleging that Kentucky’s actions were “lacking constitutional standing.”

The motion was filed in United States Southern District of New York in the matter of United States v. PokerStars, et. al., the omnibus case header for most of that court’s “Black Friday“ matters.

Filing attorneys included Sharon Cohen Levin, Michael D. Lockard and Jason H. Cowley, all working from the offices of SDNY lead attorney Preet Bharara.

The DOJ attorneys seek to dismiss Kentucky’s claims in whole, noting that the state’s claims of having seized the domains were false: “... it is uncontested that Kentucky has not obtained a judgment for the domain names and has never even successfully executed its state-court seizure warrant.”

The DOJ attorneys noted, in debunking Kentucky’s claims, that they themselves took control of domains connected to PokerStars, Full Tilt and Absolute Poker (including UltimateBet) in conjunction with the Black Friday seizures.

As they described it, “Kentucky, in other words, 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.”

The latest legal moves represent a continued sweeping away of potential obstacles to a deal or settlement between the Department of Justice, PokerStars and Full Tilt.

DOJ attorneys have intervened in several ongoing civil and criminal matters in recent weeks. Those cases include a civil case against Full Tilt brought by several high-profile players and a possible nuisance action brought by a software start-up, Cardroom International, that sought to attach part of the frozen funds held in abeyance by the DOJ.

Kentucky’s interests regarding online-gambling sites date back to September of 2008, when the state filed its seizure claims against 141 gambling domains. The original list was pared down to 132 domains by the time Kentucky filed a claim in the federal matter in September of 2011.