Borgata Attorney Unlicensed In WSOP Case

Phil Ivey
The case between Phil Ivey and two opponents, Daniel “Jungleman” Cates and Illya Trincher, has hit an unusual speed bump. Ivey’s counsel, Richard H. Schonfeld, has claimed that his opposition in court, Jeremy Klausner of Borgata, is actually unlicensed to practice in the state of Nevada or in the US District of Nevada. While this claim is being investigated, Ivey’s World Series of Poker (WSOP) winnings continue to remain frozen by the US Marshal’s Service.

The court case revolved around claims by Cates and Trincher that Ivey’s winnings of $87 205 should in fact belong to them. Klausner argued for a garnishment order that allowed those winnings to be frozen until the case can be resolved and received one from the Nevada courts. However, Schonfeld has now argued that this should be reversed, as Klausner does not have a license to practice law in the state.

Claims Against Klausner

In Schonfeld’s court filing, he claims that firstly, Klausner is not licensed to practice in Nevada and therefor should have got a licensed attorney to work with him. The second claim is that Klausner failed to do so and that should make any rulings on proceedings where he argued null and void. Should these claims be ruled for, it would take the entire case back to the drawing board and arguments would have to be heard all over again.

It should have been a simple process for Klausner to be part of the legal team in the court case in Nevada. According to the papers filed by Schonfeld, he should have retained local counsel from a lawyer who is licensed to practice in the state. Then, Klausner needed to apply for pro hac vice (replacement) permission from the court. Once granted, and with local counsel at his side, his action in court would have been considered legal.

Considering that Klausner failed to comply with Nevada laws, Schonfeld went on to state that the garnishment writ that froze Ivey’s winnings should be cancelled.

Long-Term Impact For Ivey

The outcome of these new accusations is still unknown as the court deliberates on Schonfeld’s accusations. However, regardless of a win or loss, there are still major ramifications that Ivey will have to face.

There is currently a $10.13 million judgement hanging over his head from the same Borgata firm in New Jersey. This could be enforced at any time, and anywhere in the USA. It is likely then that Ivey will not return to the USA for any more Poker tournaments.