One of poker's most well-known faces belongs not to a poker player, but to former Playboy model and World Poker Tour host Shana Hiatt. Despite finding success as poker's best-known television hostess, Hiatt left the show after several seasons. Ironically, her departure from the WPT came just when many of the shows featuring her began to air around the globe. Her departure left many fans wondering when and if they would ever see this beautiful television personality again.
Today, Hiatt took another step toward making it back to the poker television airwaves. According to an injunction granted this morning by a judge on the California Superior State Court in Los Angeles, the WPT can no longer keep the stunning hostess from pursuing two job opportunities at NBC. According to the complaint filed on Hiatt's behalf by her lawyer Paul Sorrel of Lavely & Singer, Hiatt was in line to find work on NBC's highly popular National Heads-Up Poker Championship and a new show called Poker After Dark.
As described in today's court documents, things were looking good for Hiatt's return until August of 2006. It was at this point that Steve Lipscomb informed NBC that Hiatt could not work for the network due to a noncompete clause in her contract with the WPT.
Judge Linda K. Lefkowitz, however, disagreed with Lipscomb's claims, granting today's injunction on Hiatt's behalf. According to the judge's decision, the injunction now stops the WPT from "seeking to prevent or prohibit Plaintiff (Hiatt) from seeking employment with NBC in connection with appearances in two poker-themed television shows by claiming or asserting the existence of a noncompetitive or other exclusivity agreement."
If Lipscomb and the WPT wish to pursue their claim about Hiatt's contract and continue trying to block her from working, they now have to appear in a Santa Monica courtroom and show why the injunction should not be enforced.
Card Player spoke with Hiatt's attorney about today's decision. "It's unfortunate that the World Poker Tour is engaging in conduct that we believe is unlawful and in violation of Shana Hiatt's right to appear on poker television programs. We intend to hold the World Poker Tour accountable for its actions," Sorrell said.
At the time of this writing, the World Poker Tour could not be reached for comment.