On Friday, November 14, 2008, Clonie Gowen officially began legal proceedings in the form of a lawsuit against Tiltware LLC and Full Tilt Poker. The case was filed in the Nevada District Court, and in essence, Gowen is seeking damages in the amount of $40 million.
The lawsuit alleges that Gowen was offered one percent ownership of Full Tilt Poker and Tiltware, the associated software company, in exchange for representation of the company, and she did so for no other monetary compensation since the time that the agreement was made verbally in 2004, which was when the company launched operations. In the spring of 2007, numerous Full Tilt Poker team members received distribution checks from their ownership stakes, but Gowen was excluded and received nothing. A conversation with Howard Lederer about the distributions led to her belief that she was being refused that payment, but Lederer allegedly offered her $250,000 for her past representation of the company. She refused because it was not sufficient.
Since that time, Gowen continued to wear Full Tilt Poker gear and promote the company, while Full Tilt was beginning to leave her out of press releases naming the companies primary representatives. There were rumblings of a fallout during the 2008 World Series of Poker but no statements could be obtained at the time. It wasn’t until November 11, 2008, that Gowen received notification that Full Tilt would be issuing a press release noting that she was no longer a member of Team Full Tilt, at which time she proceeded with the lawsuit.
Estimating that the company is worth $4 billion, Gowen filed a breach of contract claim for $40 million worth of damages. She also alleged wrongdoings in the form of breach of fiduciary duties, breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing, unjust enrichment, and fraud in the form of intentional misrepresentation. Defendants are named as Full Tilt Poker Tiltware LLC, Pocket Kings Ltd., Kolyma Corporation, A.V.V., Raymond J. Bitar, Howard Lederer, Andrew Bloch, Phillip Ivey, Christopher Ferguson, John Juanda, Phillip Gordon, Erick Lindgren, Erik Seidel, Jennifer Harman-Traniello, Michael Matusow, Allen Cunningham, Gus Hansen, and Patrick Antonius. The list seems to include all companies involved in the operations of Full Tilt Poker, as well as all of the members of Team Full Tilt. The 20-page document is on file with the Las Vegas office of the Nevada District Court.
A statement was released by Tiltware in response to the lawsuit: “Tiltware LLC has been made aware of the recent filing of a meritless lawsuit by a former Full Tilt Poker endorser - Ms. Cycalona Gowen. All claims have no merit and there are many inaccuracies improperly and unlawfully asserted by Ms. Gowen within her frivolous complaint. Tiltware LLC expects that this lawsuit will be dealt with accordingly by a competent court in due course.”