Temporary Restraining Order Lifted, Mintas Seeks $75m in Damages

The legal battle between PlayUp, an online gaming company operating out of Australia, and its ex-US chief executive officer Laila Mintas saw a Nevada court dismiss the initial temporary restraining order.

Ex Parte Restraining Order Lifted

US District Court Judge Gloria Navarro ruled against the preliminary injunction order she had issued previously after being presented with additional information in the course of the counter lawsuit filed by Mintas claiming the initial lawsuit filed against her by PlayUp executives was based on false statements.

In her ruling in December, Navarro issued an ex parte restraining order against Mintas based on a seemingly very real “threat that was claimed by the plaintiff” but now stated that “the plaintiff has failed to demonstrate that the defendant breached the non-disparagement provision under the employment agreement,” and then concluded:

“It was just as likely or more likely that the actions of Daniel Simic are the ones that caused the negotiations to cease irreparably.”

US District Court Judge Gloria Navarro

What Navarro was referring to in her ruling were two emails from FTX, the cryptocurrency firm that was in deep negotiations for the acquisition of PlayUp, that were not presented to the court with the initial claims the deal fell through because Mintas had sabotaged it.

One of the emails sent by FTX head of product Ramnik Arora to PlayUp global CEO Daniel Simic and PlayUp chief technology officer and co-founder Michael Costa indicated negotiations for the $450 million deal fell through after an intervention from Simic.

The global CEO decided to throw into the mix PlayChip, a gaming company run by Simic, and request a further $170 million, $105 million for PlayChip, and $65 million for bonuses to key PlayChip personnel, including himself.

On top of that, Simic’s decision to renege on Mintas’ contract renewal made FTX believe “there seems to be mistrust and lack of communication between the US and Global business” and, “based on these concerns … we’ve decided against pursuing a full acquisition at this time.”

The second email, again sent to Simic, following a Nov. 15 meeting in The Bahamas gave grounds for Navarro to state that there was a lack of evidence that Mintas had made disparaging statements to FTX officials as alleged in the PlayUp claim.

Mintas’ Counter Lawsuit

The counterclaim stated that PlayUp’s lawsuit seeking an ex parte temporary restraining order against Mintas was filed with the purpose to “use Dr. Mintas as the public scapegoat for the failed FTX deal” and save faces in front of the company’s shareholders.

Mintas’ lawyer continued by claiming the lawsuit and PlayUp’s continuous efforts to portray the defendant in a negative light was a “desperate attempt to avoid a lawsuit by the shareholders” but it caused “irreparable harm and damages,” as a result of which she had suffered “direct, incidental and consequential damages” the amount of which will be proven in a trial.

The lawsuit seeks $75 million in damages.

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