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Firm obtains dismissal of $1B lawsuit related to failed Massachusetts casino application

Christopher Weld Jr. and Christian Kiely persuaded a Suffolk Superior Court judge to dismiss a $1 billion claim against their client related to a failed Massachusetts casino application.

The judge determined that a prior federal court judgment dismissing a complaint involving similar claims and the same parties precluded relitigating the case in state court.

The plaintiff filed the federal court lawsuit against the defendants asserting claims under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act as well as various state law claims after the Massachusetts Gaming Commission rejected the plaintiff’s application for the sole license to operate a casino in the Boston area in favor of a bid by competing applicant Wynn Resorts.

The plaintiff claimed that the Commission awarded the license to Wynn based on alleged misrepresentations made by Wynn and the firm’s client (the former owner of the land in Everett, Mass. where the Encore Casino was ultimately constructed) during the licensing process.

However, the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of the plaintiff’s RICO claim, concluding that the plaintiff could not establish that its alleged damages – loss of casino revenue – were proximately caused by the defendants, including the firm’s client.

The plaintiff subsequently filed the state court action against the firm’s client and other defendants named in the dismissed federal lawsuit, asserting unfair competition in violation of the Massachusetts consumer protection statute (Chapter 93A) and other state law claims.

However, the Superior Court judge found that the issue of proximate causation is the same in both cases, and that the prior federal court ruling bars further litigation.