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Players File Class-Action Lawsuit Against Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson

Howard Lederer

Four poker players have filed a class-action lawsuit against Full Tilt Poker executives Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson, alleging that the two men ''exercised unlawful dominion and control'' over players’ funds in Full Tilt Poker accounts before and after Black Friday.

The lawsuit, filed in Nevada on Thursday, requests that the defendants refund player funds and pay punitive damages upward of $150 million. The plaintiffs claim that U.S. players have been wrongfully denied access to funds they deposited on the site and that Full Tilt Poker misled players into thinking their funds were safe.

According to, the lawsuit states that Lederer received an estimated $42 million in distributions and ''profit sharing'' payments, some of which was loaned from Full Tilt Poker. The suit also claims that Ferguson received $85 million, some of which may have been in the form of loans.

”Additionally, defendants approved distributions and loans to the other owners of Full Tilt Poker from funds directly traceable to the player accounts," the lawsuit says. "The distributions and loans to Lederer, Ferguson and the other Full Tilt Poker owners were from intermingled funds containing monies from the player accounts.”

The lead plaintiffs in the suit are Steve Segal, Todd Terry, Robin Hougdahl and Nick Hammer. The same four players filed a class-action complaint last June against companies and persons associated with Full Tilt Poker. Among those listed in the suit were Lederer, Ferguson, Ray Bitar, Nelson Burtnick, Phil Ivey, John Juanda, Jennifer Harman-Traniello, Phil Gordon, Erick Lindgren, Erik Seidel, Andy Bloch, Mike Matusow, Gus Hansen, Allen Cunningham, and Patrik Antonius.

That suit was dismissed in January by U.S. District Judge Leonard B. Sand, who said he did not believe that charges alleged in the class action complaint directly caused the confiscation of player funds.

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