Lewis Rice Wins Dismissal of $100 Million Antitrust Lawsuit in Chess Cheating Scandal

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri dismissed a lawsuit brought by chess grandmaster Hans Niemann seeking to recover $100 million against Lewis Rice client and chess grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura, among others. The case arose from cheating allegations against Mr. Niemann following the 2022 Sinquefield Cup. Mr. Niemann had alleged claims of defamation, tortious interference, civil conspiracy, and antitrust violations of the Sherman Act and Clayton Act. 

Lewis Rice challenged the Court’s jurisdiction over Mr. Nakamura in Missouri as well as the sufficiency of Mr. Niemann’s claims under state and federal law. The Court ultimately agreed with Lewis Rice’s position, holding that Mr. Niemann had failed to plausibly allege a federal antitrust injury, dismissing that claim with prejudice. The remainder of Mr. Niemann’s lawsuit was dismissed from federal court for lack of jurisdiction.

The Lewis Rice litigation team that secured dismissal of the lawsuit for Mr. Nakamura was led by Neal F. Perryman (Chair of the Litigation Department), along with Michael L. Jente and Benjamin M. Farley.

Throughout the case, Lewis Rice worked collaboratively alongside Mr. Nakamura’s longtime counsel, Michael J. Ryan of Michael J. Ryan, PA. Other defendants in the lawsuit were chess grandmaster Magnus Carlsen (represented by Axinn, Veltrop & Harkrider LLP and Stinson LLP) and Chess.com, LLC, Play Magnus Group, and Chess.com’s Chief Chess Officer Daniel Rensch (represented by Latham & Watkins LLP and Husch Blackwell LLP).

Additional information regarding the lawsuit and resulting dismissal, which have been the subject of worldwide media attention, can be found at the links below.