Less than 2 years after Australian sports betting firm PlayUp had appointed Dr. Laila Mintas as its US CEO, the company was granted a temporary restraining order against her to prevent further damages.
Prevent Further Damages
The temporary restraining order against PlayUp US chief executive officer Mintas was granted by a Nevada court following a complaint filed by the company alleging its regional CEO of breach of confidentiality and making false statements that inflicted damages to the company’s reputation and led to a multi-million dollar deal fall through.
Nevada District Court Judge Gloria Navarro issued the order accepting the plaintiff’s claims that Mintas could cause an “irreparable harm” to the business but was unconvinced that PlayUp US CEO breached her employment agreement by trading secrets.
The relationship between Mintas and PlayUp went sour following negotiations for a contract renewal last month during which Mintas requested to be appointed global CEO of the company, her salary doubled to $1 million annually and her stake in the business increased to 15%, while PlayUp CEO Daniel Simic’s contract terminated.
Since August, PlayUp and MLB official crypto exchange brand and one of the top cryptocurrency exchanges globally FTX, have been negotiating on a possible sale of the sports betting business for $450 million but following PlayUp’s refusal to budge to Mintas’ terms, PlayUp US CEO engaged directly with one of the FTX investors and made claims which led to the collapse of the deal, the plaintiff stated in the complaint.
In breach of her employment agreement, which also includes “Confidentiality, Non-Competition, Non-Solicitation, and Non-Disparagement” provision, Mintas contacted Sam Bankman-Fried, a proprietor of FTX Limited, and purportedly informed him that “there is conflict within management of PlayUp, there are systemic issues, and that the company is not clean.”
Furthermore, PlayUp claimed that Mintas had threatened to “damage PlayUp’s reputation to gaming regulators, commercial and business trading partners, and customers” as part of her refusal to accept the company’s employment proposal.
No Trade Secret Laws Breach
PlayUp claims were not enough to convince Navarro that any of the statements made by Mintas violated trade secret laws or the confidentiality agreement as they did not contain any information that could be classified as confidential.
Navarro agreed that it was very likely that Mintas had violated the terms of her employment contract not to “make any statements or representations that disparage, portray in a negative light, or otherwise impair the reputation or commercial interests of the Company.”
Moreover, by claiming that “FTX made [her] an offer to do something directly with them” and that she believed she could take various licenses with her, Mintas likely breached the non-competition provision of the employment agreement.
The temporary restraining order Navarro issued barred Mintas from “engaging in any form of conduct or making statements or representations that disparage, portray in a negative light, or otherwise impair the reputation or commercial interest of plaintiff PlayUp.”
Navarro scheduled a hearing in court on the temporary restraining order on December 16, giving Mintas until December 13 to file a response brief and until December 15 to file a reply brief.