State slaps failed Kickstarter creator with $54,000 fine

Washington State goes after Asylum Playing Cards

I wrote last year about Asylum Playing Cards, a “failed” Kickstarter campaign that had received unwanted attention from the Washington State Attorney General’s office. At the time, the AG had brought charges against both the company and the owner, alleging misrepresentation, failure to deliver the promised goods and a failure to issue refunds to backers.

A judgment is handed down

The court judgment came down on July 27, but the news wasn’t picked up by Polygon until September 11. According to the AG’s press release, the King County court has ordered that both Edward J. Polchlopek III (aka Ed Nash) and the company, Altius Management, are on the hook for $54,851 in fees, fines and restitution. It breaks down like this:

  • $668 – Restitution for the 31 backers (getting their reward money back)
  • $23,183 – Payment of costs and fees for bringing the lawsuit
  • $31,000 – Fines for violating the state Consumer Protection Act ($1,000 for each backer)

It remains to be seen whether or not that $668 makes it into consumers’ hands. Remember the FTC’s settlement with the creator of The Doom That Came To Atlantic City’s Kickstarter, which acknowledged that the money had already been spent and did not require payment.

asylum playing cards kickstarter lawsuit

What went wrong?

The Kickstarter raised just over $25,000 all the way back in 2012, with a promised delivery date of December 2012. Communication from Altius and Nash went silent in 2013, with no delivery of any cards to backers. Washington State was alerted to the fact that 31 of the project’s 810 total backers were residents of their state, and brought the first state lawsuit against a Kickstarter creator in April 2014.

Backers are receiving their copies?

In spite of the court’s decision, there are reports in the comment thread of the Kickstarter page that backers are starting to receive their promised rewards. From what commenters are saying, there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason behind where the finished copies show up. They probably aren’t heading to Washington State anytime soon, though. For legal services related to your Kickstarter campaign or game development, why not contact a game lawyer?

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