USCF Home Chess Life Online 2009 March Report to the USCF Membership Regarding Current Litigation
|Report to the USCF Membership Regarding Current Litigation|
|By Bill Hall|
|March 25, 2009|
The USCF is currently involved in six lawsuits. I have listed them below in the order of filing:
Sloan vs. USCF, et al., 1:07-cv-08537-DC
(District Court for the Southern District of New York)
On October 3, 2007, Sam Sloan sued the USCF, members of the Executive Board, members of the USCF Forums Governance, and others citing a lengthy list of allegations. Among the allegations were claims that USCF Executive Board member Paul Truong had impersonated Sloan in thousands of defamatory and vulgar Internet postings prior to and while both were candidates for the USCF Executive Board. The suit was filed in federal court in New York, but dismissed due to lack of diversity jurisdiction. Mr. Sloan filed a motion to reconsider with the court, which was denied. He then filed a motion to reconsider the ruling on his motion to reconsider, which was denied. Currently, Mr. Sloan is appealing the dismissal to the federal circuit appellate court.
Parker vs. USCF, et al, 2:08-cv-00829-JCJ
(District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
On February 21, 2008, Gordon Roy Parker sued the USCF, some members of the USCF Executive Board and Mr. Sloan. The complaint alleges, among other things, that Mr. Parker was impersonated by Paul Truong in defamatory and vulgar Internet postings. Initially the complaint was dismissed without prejudice because it was “long and convoluted, failing to clearly and concisely set forth his factual allegations and legal claims.” Thereafter, Mr. Parker re-filed his complaint, omitting Mr. Sloan as a defendant. After reviewing the amended complaint, the court dismissed the majority of the claims made by Mr. Parker, including all counts against the USCF and most of the Executive Board. The Court ruled that three claims against USCF Executive Board members Susan Polgar and her husband, Paul Truong, would survive. The court then ordered Mr. Parker to effectuate proper service of process on defendants Polgar and Truong.
USCF vs. Does 1–10, CGC-08-476777
(San Francisco Superior Court); after removal and amendment the case was renamed as, USCF vs. Polgar, Alexander & Does 1-10, 3:08-cv-05126-MHP (District Court for the Northern District of California)
The USCF discovered that then still unknown persons had unlawfully accessed the e-mail accounts of one or more USCF Executive Board members, and such unknown persons had unlawfully copied and publicly posted attorney-client privileged e-mails belonging to the USCF. As a result, on June 25, 2008, the USCF filed suit against Does 1-10 in San Francisco Superior Court in California. Thereafter, a San Francisco judge signed a discovery order permitting the USCF to serve subpoenas in order to investigate and try to identify the unknown persons responsible for the wrongdoing. Based on the belief that Ms. Polgar and Mr. Truong had information that could help with the investigation of this matter and based on the fact that certain e-mails had appeared in Ms. Polgar’s possession and she gave conflicting answers to how she acquired the information and then refused to cooperate in the investigation, the USCF gave notice of the intent to take their depositions during the week of the U.S. Open in Dallas, Texas. Ms. Polgar and Mr. Truong failed to appear at their depositions and subsequently refused to be deposed in the matter.
On October 24, 2008, based on information received from various neutral third parties in response to subpoenas, the USCF amended its complaint to name USCF Executive Board member Susan Polgar and USCF member Gregory Alexander as defendants in the case. USCF Executive Board Secretary Randall Hough was added as a plaintiff, as Mr. Hough’s personal e-mail account was one of the accounts improperly accessed. The case has been removed to federal court in California and re-named, USCF v. Polgar, Alexander & Does 1-10. Ms. Polgar has filed an answer to the complaint, and Mr. Alexander has filed a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. The USCF is waiting for a ruling on Mr. Alexander’s motion. Ms. Polgar and Mr. Alexander have denied the claims and have refused to cooperate in the
Polgar vs. USCF, et. al., 5:08-cv-00169-C
(District Court for the Northern District of Texas)
On August 9, 2008, at the USCF Delegates meeting, Ms. Polgar filed a lawsuit against the USCF and several members of the USCF Executive Board. The lawsuit named the USCF, all Executive Board members excluding Ms. Polgar and Mr. Truong, and a group of other Defendants. The suit was filed in State Court in Texas and alleges liable, slander, defamation of character, business disparagement, interference of contract, and a host of other allegations. Subsequently, the case was removed to federal court in Texas. One Defendant, Sam Sloan, denied the claims and filed claims against Ms. Polgar and Mr. Truong regarding their alleged improper activities regarding the alleged fake Internet postings. All remaining Defendants denied the claims and have filed motions to dismiss on various grounds, including Polgar’s failure to state legally sufficient claims. The Parties are currently awaiting a ruling on the pending motions.
CyberCafes vs. USCF
On November 13, 2008, CyberCafes, LLC filed suit in State Court in Connecticut asking for injunctive relief on five contractually disputed items. The case is pending in the initial stages and is related to our book and equipment outsourcing agreement.
USCF vs. Polgar & Truong, 2008MR000751
(Circuit Court for the Seventh Judicial Circuit, Sangamon County, Illinois)
On December 29, 2008, the USCF filed suit in State Court in Illinois asking the Court to remove Susan Polgar and Paul Truong as USCF Executive Board members for various reasons. At the time of the writing of this update (February 10, 2009), the USCF has been unable to service the complaint on either of the two Defendants. Further, Ms. Polgar and Mr. Truong have refused to waive service of process.
For additional updates to these cases, please go to www.uschess.org/legalupdates. There we will have all of the public documentation from each case available for our membership. These are challenging times for the USCF considering the time and resources needed to handle these various cases. In an attempt to help protect the USCF, the USCF Executive Board voted to establish the USCF Legal Defense Fund. Anyone wishing to make a contribution can go to the USCF Membership Webstore. You may also donate by contacting Susan Houston at (931) 787-1234 ext. 136 or by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Executive Director, USCF