Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Response to a Question from ChessDiscussion.com

I've been participating in the dialog at ChessDiscussion.com.  I received the following question, which I thought was interesting:

"Since you're an attorney, would you recommend Goichberg and Hall to continue these multiple lawsuits based on what's known so far?"

I drafted a response, but decided that it would probably give the moderator a heart attack, so I will post my response here:

Complex question, and one that is difficult to answer based on the information available publicly. Because there are 5 separate lawsuits, it is really 5 different questions (although the Sloan and Parker lawsuits are, for purposes of this analysis very similar).  

I should also include a lawyerly disclaimer. The following is strictly my personal opinion. I do not represent, and have not represented, any party to any of the pending litigation. I can also only rely on such documentation that has been made public. I also have been following USCF's various adventures in litigation as a hobby only. (Memo to self: Must get life. Must get out more often.) While I have had the chance to read many of the various filings, I have not had a chance to review supporting law, and I do not claim any familiarity with the law of Texas, California, or Illinois. I have also not had the time or the inclination to do a detailed, point by point analysis of all the various allegations. With that said:  

1. The Sloan and Parker suits really aren't within USCF's control. USCF is on the defense, and the defense is being handled by the insurance company. USCF really shouldn't interfere in those suits, which may disappear in the natural course of events.  

2. The Texas action filed by Ms. Polgar is also, to a great degree, out of USCF's hands because USCF is the defendant. Now the USCF has filed a third-party action against Mr. Truong, and I have serious doubts about the wisdom of bringing him into the action. I am, at this point, generally supportive of a vigorous defense of this action, by USCF and its directors.  

a. Ms. Polgar's allegations pertaining to the Mottershead report have an obvious and glaring fundamental flaw: The Motorshead report is all about Mr. Truong, not Ms. Polgar. The Answers filed by the defendants pounded on that flaw repeatedly. 

b. Some of the acts alleged to be performed by Mr. Lafferty, Mr. Mottershead and Mr. Bogner are highly unlikely to be imputed to USCF. 

c. I find the allegations of a grandiose conspiracy to be inherently unlikely.  

3. As far as the California action is concerned, I don't have enough information to assess how strong this case is or isn't. That requires technical evidence and expertise that isn't publicly available. I also have serious doubts as to what can be gained from that litigation ultimately, and whether those gains will be worth the financial investment.  

4. As far as the Illinois action, the advisability of that action splits into two parts: (a) the removal of Mr. Truong and (b) the removal of Ms. Polgar.  

The advisability of pursuing Mr. Truong's depends primarily on the analysis of the Mottershead report. If you believe the Mottershead report, then Mr. Truong should not be a director of USCF -- not because of the Sloan and Parker suits, but because of the danger of persons suing USCF who, unlike Parker and Sloan, had reputations that could be damaged.  

The advisability of removing Ms. Polgar is much less clear to me. I do have a serious problem with her suing USCF for ungodly amounts of money. If it is proven that she posted confidential USCF material on the web, I also have a real problem with that. On the other hand, Ms. Polgar has so much to offer chess that I would much prefer that a way could be found that the litigation could settle and the could remain on the board.

1 comment:

  1. Regarding removing Paul Truong: To many it is not so much the contents of the Mottershead Report that prompts the desire to remove Truong as it is Truong's refusal to assist the USCF attorney's in DEFENSE of the suit brought on by the report.

    As I recall, the Executive Board litigation sub committee based their request for Truong's resignation based on Truong's refusal to assist the USCF attorneys and not on his actions allged in the report.