Plaintiffs’ counsel files affidavit of attempted service
Accused poker cheat Mike Postle has now also been accused of dodging formal legal service in the lawsuit brought by nearly 100 defendants. The case accuses Postle of cheating during dozens of streamed “Stones Live” cash-game podcasts aired in 2018 and 2019.
Developments in the case had stalled in recent weeks for reasons now seemingly further explained. On January 5, 2020, plaintiffs’ counsel Maurice “Mac” B. Verstandig filed an affidavit of service declaring “summons returned executed”. This was accompanied by a sworn supplement describing the circumstances under which numerous attempts at serving the summons had been stymied.
The filing also explains a curious inclusion in legal extensions already granted to Postle’s two co-defendants, Justin Kuraitis and Kings Casino, the parent entity of the Sacramento-based Stones Gambling Hall.
Postle allegedly ignored doorbell for many minutes
Verstandig’s supplemental filing describes the great lengths to which he had gone to attempt to serve Postle with legal notice of the $10 million lawsuit.
Following the unsuccessful attempts, Verstandig took the matter into his own hands
During late December 2019, Verstandig’s firm had retained a process server to deliver the legal notice to Postle. However, the server was unable to reach Postle on five separate days: December 19, 22, 24, 29, and 30.
Following the unsuccessful attempts, Verstandig took the matter into his own hands. He wrote in his affidavit: “On Friday, January 3, 2020, at 9:21 pm local time, I approached the residence [street address redacted] in Antelope, California (the ‘House’), where I understand Michael L. Postle (‘Mr. Postle’ or the ‘Defendant’) to reside.”
Verstandig continued: “While at the House, I interchangeably knocked on the door and rang the door bell, announcing my presence, for a period of approximately eight (8) minutes, during which time I observed lights to be on the House, I observed a Lincoln MKX with California license plate [redacted] to be parked in the House’s driveway, and I heard noises emanate from inside of the House.”
After eight minutes of knocking and ringing the doorbell, Verstandig retreated to his own vehicle. He left his lights and engine off and continued to watch the house to see what would happen next.
As he described it: “I then saw a male, meeting the description of the Defendant (whose description I know from viewing myriad photographs, viewing dozens of video recordings, and one personal meeting prior to this litigation), inside the House, standing atop the stairwell.
I witnessed movements through a window curtain and noises drawing nearer to the door”
Verstandig added: “At this juncture, I returned to the door of the House, commenced to knock on the door and ring the doorbell interchangeably once again so as to announce my presence. I witnessed movements through a window curtain and noises drawing nearer to the door upon which I was knocking.”
The plaintiffs’ counsel proceeded to “[place] the summons and complaint in the above-referenced action between the security door and the front door of the House, calling out for the Defendant.
On returning to his car, he said: “I again witnessed movement inside the House, through windows affording a view of the upstairs portion of the House.”
Purported defense counsel ignored phone calls
Verstandig also described his attempts to serve Postle’s summons through William Portanova, the Sacramento attorney who described himself as defending Postle in a statement to a California news outlet.
Verstandig attested to having initially spoken with Portanova about accepting service on Postle’s behalf. At that time, according to Verstandig, Portanova “indicated he would confer with his client and get back to me.”
However, Portanova also stated that he was solely a criminal attorney, and that he did not represent Postle in any civil matter. The lawsuit against Postle and the others is indeed a civil case. According to Verstandig, Portanova failed to return at least three subsequent phone calls.
All that contributed to Verstandig’s filing, which accuses Postle “to be actively engaged in the avoidance of service.”
The next step in the matter will be for the presiding judge in the case, US District Judge Morrison C. England, to assess whether the collected attempts, as is likely, constitute legal service. That will in turn start the clock on other matters in the case, likely forcing Postle to retain civil legal counsel and file an initial response.