— Jeff Ifrah, founder of Ifrah Law PLLC, a Washington, D.C.-based law firm, specializing in complex civil and criminal litigation, completed a significant victory for its client, the Interactive Gaming Council (“IGC”), as the Kentucky Court of Appeals determined that the trade association could intervene in a long-term in rem forfeiture proceeding on behalf its members. The charge was led by Jeff Ifrah, a noted gaming attorney and founding member of Ifrah Law, who secured this precedent-setting win in a case which dates back to 2008. Back then the Commonwealth of Kentucky seized 141 domain names that it claimed were illegal gambling devices. While the IGC’s attempts to intervene on behalf of 61 of the domain name owners were initially rejected in the Franklin Circuit Court, the Court of Appeals found that the IGC did have standing to appear on behalf of its members and contest a forfeiture of those domain names. It was the first time ever that associational standing was granted to trade association in a forfeiture proceeding.
The ruling was a result of Jeff Ifrah’s successful appeal, which focused on the associational standing test articulated by the United States Supreme Court in Hunt v. Washington State Apple Advertising Commission, and, specifically, the third prong of the test which grants associational standing only if the claim or relief requested does not require individual member participation. Ifrah convinced the court that associational standing is well-suited for an in rem proceeding because the forfeiture affected a large number of property owners, whose claims were largely legal and could be resolved without the need for individualized proof. “There is little sense in applying a rule that can deny an association from advocating on behalf of its members solely due to an overly technical application of it,” Ifrah said. “Instead we believe—and the court agreed with us—that the third prong must be applied flexibly in light of the specific nature of the claims and issues involved.”
Judge Allison Jones, writing for a unanimous three-judge panel, noted that Kentucky had treated the domain names as a group for most of the litigation. “The Commonwealth cannot now turn the tables and ask the court to require each domain name owner to come forward individually and assert virtually identical legal arguments through separate counsel to resolve threshold, purely legal issues that affect the validity of the entire forfeiture procedure,” Jones wrote. Ifrah agrees: “Trying to force 141 domain name owners to pursue their claims individually—filing extremely similar, but distinct motions and appeals—would be burdensome and inefficient,” Jeff Ifrah said. “Now that associational standing has been demonstrated, we will seek to reinstate the earlier Court of Appeals decision that domain names are not ‘property’ subject to forfeiture and do not constitute ‘gambling devices.’”
Ifrah Law is a Washington, D.C.-based law firm that represents clients in a variety of litigation settings. Founded in 2009, the firm specializes in Internet advertising, igaming, government contracts and healthcare. Its attorneys also author two noted blogs: www.crimeinthesuites.com, an analysis of current issues in white-collar defense, and www.ftcbeat.com, FTC and State AG News for Ecommerce. For more information, please visit www.ifrahlaw.com.
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Release ID: 202500