Saturday, July 25, 2009

Litigation Update -- In which the parties start using live ammo.

It had been some time since my last update on the pending litigation, so I might as well bring us up to date:

The Illinois litigation:

The federal court, as predicted, held that there was no federal question and remanded the case to state court. Now that the matter is back in state court, I suspect the information about it will be less generally available as state court dockets are much less web accessible, in most jurisdictions.

Texas Litigation:

USCF's attempt to add Truong as a third-party defendant, was shot down in flames. It was a bad idea strategically and procedurally, and the Court struck it down on procedural grounds.

There has also been an extensive amount of discovery jousting. The issues under dispute include whether USCF would need to produce documents regarding their communications with law enforcement and the allegedly stolen emails. The court reviewed the documents in camera, and then ruled that the documents should not be produced. There has been a great deal of briefing about the allegedly stolen emails and the appropriateness, or lack thereof, of using the crystaltech dvd obtained through discovery. (Polgar's counsel is apparently taking the position that merely opening the case of the crystal tech dvd will lead to dire consequences, including criminal penalties, civil liability, and the bubonic plague.)

Kronenberger and his firm have moved for summary judgment as to the allegations against it. Having reviewed the briefing, I think that the Motion has an excellent chance of being granted. I initially found the allegations against the law firm to be laughable, and I don't see anything in the briefing to change my opinion. One interesting note in the entire fight is that Polgar is attempting to use the allegedly stolen emails in an attempt to defeat the motion. (Needless to say, USCF's attorney has a problem with this.)

Kronenberger has been deposed. Other than some sock puppet on Chess Discussion talking about Kronenberger's lack of experience, nothing has emerged as to the deposition. It has also been alleged that Truong was trying to surreptitously record the deposition with his laptop. If so, that's a remarkably bad idea. Polgar was also deposed. Amusingly, posts appeared on her blog during the deposition, which led to her admitting that Truong was authorized to post on her blog in her name.

In San Francisco:

Mediation was held in July. It was at a lunch break in the mediation that the Secret Service appeared to arrest Gregory Alexander, which, no doubt, did little to put the parties in a conciliatory mood.

Polgar has filed Motions to Disqualify Kronenberger and a Motion for Summary Judgment based on the corporate authorization issue. Both have been briefed, but the hearings have been delayed to allow for mediation. I don't see either motion as being likely to succeed. The motion to disqualify in particular, just looks like a transparent attempt to heap mud on opposing counsel.

Meanwhile, the board has begun proceeding to revoke the membership of Truong and Polgar. This motion has been timed so as to allow an immediate appeal to the delegates at the annual meeting. Frankly, this looks like creating more issues than it will solve, but we'll have to see how it plays out.

The Preliminary Results were not misleading

Here are the final totals, detailed totals by region will be available on the USCF home page later today:

1. Jim Berry 3030
2. Bill Goichberg 3014
3. Ruth Haring 2953
4. Mike Atkins 2672
5. Mikhail Korenman 822
6. Mike Nietman 732
7. Eric Hecht 717
8. Blas Lugo 657
9. Sam Sloan 588
10. Brian Lafferty 576
11. Brian Mottershead 435

Congratulations and good luck to the "winners." Hopefully they won't be regretting their victory too much.

The impish part of me wants to start on a pool to guess the date when Atkins and Haring become defendants in a lawsuit. My best guess is August 20. I hope I'm wrong, but . . .

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Preliminary votes make it look like a landslide

Per Mike Nolan, with just over half the state counted:

Jim Berry 1829
Bill Goichberg 1826
Ruth Haring 1802
Mike Atkins 1569
Mikhael Korenman 483
Eric Hecht 420
Mike Nietman 400
Sam Sloan 360
Blas Lugo 358
Brian Lafferty 348
Brian Mottershead 252
Various Write-ins 75

Looks like a landslide in the making for the Candidates endorsed by Goichberg. The worst of them still has 3 times the votes of his nearest rival.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Feds Step In

Gregory Alexander has been indicted. He is charged with 35 felony counts of for allegedly breaking into Randy Hough's email. Brian Lafferty has posted a copy of the indictment here. A Press Release by the US Attorney is here.

I have to confess that I often view the world of chess politics and chess politics litigation with a sense of bemusement at the comic opera quality of the whole dispute.

The comedy is over folks.