SumaiL with Evil Geniuses at TI8


SumaiL is Suing Evil Geniuses For Fraud and Deceit, Breach of Contract, and More

Vignesh Raghuram
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Dota 2 player Syed "SumaiL" Hassan has sued his former employer Evil Geniuses for breach of contract and fraud among other things.
The lawsuit primarily revolves around SumaiL's ownership stake in the organization, which he claims was not fully explained to him and was taken advantage of by EG.
The case will proceed to a jury trial on June 26, 2023, and EG has denied all allegations.

Popular Dota 2 player Syed "SumaiL" Hassan has sued his former employer Evil Geniuses for breach of contract and fraud. According to court documents obtained by AFK Gaming following a report first published by Richard Lewis , SumaiL became embroiled in a legal dispute with the North American organization concerning his previous contractual agreement in December 2019. The dispute primarily revolves around the stock awarded to SumaiL in September 2016, just a month after the player secured a top-three finish with Evil Geniuses at The International 2016 (TI6).

SumaiL embroiled in legal battle with Evil Geniuses over stock awarded in 2016

The suit states that SumaiL received 400,000 shares of stock from Evil Geniuses in 2016, which were converted into 265,338 units of common stock and 106,667 units of restricted common stock when the organization was acquired by Peak6 Strategic Capital in May 2019. It goes on to claim that units of preferred stock were made available only to Peak6 members and that nobody from the Peak6 group explained the nature of changes that occurred to Sumail's holdings due to the merger.

SumaiL was given a new contract in August 2019 (that was backdated to May 2019), granting him a monthly salary and bonus payments until August 2020. However, after a top six finish at The International 2019 (TI9), he was no longer wanted by the organization and was not part of the team’s roster for the next season. 

Following this, SumaiL signed an amendment to his player contract in September 2019 that would allow him to compete in the qualifiers for the MDL Chengdu Major 2019. But this would reduce his salary from $20,000 per month to $2,000 per month and prevent him from competing in any other competitions except for the Dota Major qualifiers. If SumaiL wished to terminate the contract, he could do so by paying a one-time fee of $125,000 according to this amendment. According to the lawsuit, this amendment also “embraced and memorialized” key terms that would allow SumaiL to play for another esports team without jeopardizing his ownership stake in Evil Geniuses.

However, SumaiL was later presented with another agreement titled “Mutual Release Agreement” that did not contain these terms. Instead, the lawsuit alleges that the Mutual Release Agreement “surreptitiously imposed harsh, unwarranted and draconian obligations and forfeitures” on SumaiL. The lawsuit also added that the release agreement contained “numerous irregularities, discrepancies, and inconsistencies” as well as “a number of ambiguous and/or unenforceable terms and conditions.”  Additionally, it highlighted that the Mutual Release Agreement was trying to take advantage of the imbalance of bargaining power between SumaiL and Evil Geniuses to force the player into forfeiting his entire stock in EG.

Following this, SumaiL was presented with a “Unit Purchase Agreement” in February 2020, which sought to liquidate all of SumaiL’s interest in EG. The proposed purchase price was $1 million, with an initial payment ($300,000) and a deferred payment (an aggregate amount of up to $700,000) that would be paid after SumaiL’s retirement or 1st March 2023, whichever came later.

The lawsuit claims that SumaiL was not given complete and accurate information about his ownership stake in EG in the Unit Purchase Agreement. EG is also accused of “obscuring the scope of Plaintiff’s purported release and concealing the impact of the agreements’ forfeiture provisions and related matters”.  Furthermore, the lawsuit claims that SumaiL “never received any value whatsoever for his shares and/or units, despite his long-term commitment and dedication to EG and its esports operations.” 

Finally, the lawsuit accused EG of “taking advantage of a young, naïve and vulnerable Plaintiff by presenting unconscionable and ambiguous terms in numerous proposed arcane agreements to Plaintiff in multiple attempts to strong-arm Plaintiff out of the well-earned benefits of his labors and talent”.

According to Richard Lewis, Evil Geniuses has denied all allegations in its response. The case will proceed to a jury trial on 26th June 2023.

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Vignesh has been covering the esports industry for nearly 5 years starting with the early days of the DPC. His industry expertise includes experience in Dota 2, CS:GO and Mobile Esports coverage.

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