Lawyers representing International Internet Technologies (IIT), LLC in the recent sweepstakes court case in Davidson County are planning to appeal dismissal of the lawsuit.
Richmond County District Attorney Reece Saunders received a letter Tuesday from Grace, Tisdale and Clifton, P.A., a firm that specializes in criminal defense and civil litigation.
The attorneys represent IIT, a software company based out of Oklahoma that designs video sweepstakes software.
The company has been in the spotlight recently due to a temporary restraining order granted by Superior Court Judge Robert Johnson in Davidson County.
The temporary restraining order, which was requested by IIT and a sweepstakes business, enjoined law enforcement from closing down sweepstakes businesses who have sweepstakes software made by IIT.
The state Attorney General’s office answered the order by filing a motion to dismiss the entire case based on a “lack of subject matter jurisdiction because all issues in this case have been decided … ,” the motion said in part.
On Monday, Johnson dismissed the case completely and the attorneys representing IIT left the courtroom without commenting.
On Tuesday, the attorneys sent a letter to Saunders explaining their intention to appeal the dismissal.
The letter said:
“As is our custom, we want to take this opportunity to bring you up to date on the latest court proceedings in the above-referenced matter.
“We appeared yesterday before the Honorable Robert Johnson of Alamance County, sitting in Davidson County. The purpose of the hearing was to determine if the Temporary Restraining Order previously entered would become a Permanent Injunction. The ultimate purpose of the Declaratory Judgment Complaint was to have the Court determine whether or not our ‘current’ system violates G.S. 14-306.4. This request for an injunction was an ancillary issue to protect operators from enforcement until that question was decided.
“Instead of allowing the Court to make that determination, the Attorney General made a Motion to Dismiss on a procedural point. The Court granted (we feel erroneously) the Motion and dismissed our action. The Court’s reasoning was that the Plaintiffs were seeking an advisory opinion and that this matter was not right for action under the Declaratory Judgment Act. We strongly disagree and will appeal the decision as soon as the Order is signed.
“In the meantime, our client continues to operate systems devoid of any fun and entertaining games in the entry or reveal process. We continue to believe that the system does not violate G.S. 14-306.4 or Supreme Court decision in Hest.
“We remain available and willing to meet with you to demonstrate their system for you. If you have any questions or would like for us to demonstrate the system, please do no hesitate to contact us. Until then, we are
Michael Grace, Christopher Clifton,” said the letter.
Jennifer Canada, assistant public information officer for the N.C. Department of Justice, said that the N.C. DOJ knows of no current challenges to the law, “and the strong state Supreme Court ruling remains in effect.”
“Our advice to law enforcement about enforcement of the law remains the same: that they investigate video sweepstakes operations in their area to determine what games are being played, consult with their local District Attorney, and then take any enforcement action they think necessary against violators. They are welcome to consult with our office as well,” she said.
Executive Vice President and General Counsel for the North Carolina Sheriff’s Association Inc., Eddie Caldwell Jr., said that while the attorneys are appealing the case, the law will still be in effect.
“There is no court order prohibiting any law enforcement agency from enforcing the law,” he said.
Caldwell said the appeal could take nine to 12 months to reach the Court of Appeals.
“The law is fully enforceable,” Caldwell said.
— Staff Writer Laura Edington can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.