Dota 2 player, SumaiL has unresolved issues with his former team’s management.
Syed “SumaiL” Hassan, a household name in the world of Dota 2, has taken legal action against his former employer — Evil Geniuses — alleging breach of contract and fraud. This was shown by court records acquired by AFK Gaming and initially reported by renowned gaming journalist Richard Lewis. The disagreement dates back to December 2019 and centers around a stock reward that SumaiL received in September 2016, just after he secured a top-three finish with Evil Geniuses at The International 2016 (TI6).
Latest for Substack: Legendary Dota player SumaiL is in a legal battle with his former organisation Evil Geniuses.https://t.co/UNg9L6bzih
— Richard Lewis (@RLewisReports) March 10, 2023
Details of the Dispute
Syed “SumaiL” Hassan has become embroiled in a legal battle with his former employer, Evil Geniuses, over a stock grant awarded to him in 2016. According to court documents, SumaiL was given 400,000 shares of stock by EG that year, which were later converted into 265,338 common stock units and a further 106,667 of the restricted variety of common stock when Peak6 Strategic Capital acquired the organization in May 2019.
The legal suit alleges that preferred stock units were exclusively reserved for Peak6 members, and that no explanation was ever given to SumaiL about the changes made to his holdings due to the merger.
Initial Troubles for Sumail
In August 2019, a new contract was given to SumaiL, which was intentionally dated to May 2019. The contract offered him a monthly salary and bonus payments until August 2020. Despite this agreement, however, SumaiL was released from his duties following a top-six finish at The International 2019 (TI9), with the organization wishing to go in a different direction with a revamped roster.
Afterward, SumaiL enacted some changes to his contract by penning an amendment in September 2019. This alteration allowed him to take part in the MDL Chengdu Major 2019 qualifiers, but with a major drawback; his salary was cut down from $20,000/month to a relatively measly $2,000/month, and he was only permitted to compete in any tournaments other than the aforementioned qualifiers for the Chengdu Major.
To terminate the contract, SumaiL would have to pay a one-time fee of $125,000. According to AFKGaming, the lawsuit claims that this amendment also included crucial terms that enabled SumaiL to play for another esports team without endangering his ownership stake in Evil Geniuses, which was agreed upon and documented in the amendment.
Alleged Misdeeds of Evil Geniuses
However, things got tricky as SumaiL was presented with a document called the “Mutual Release Agreement” that excluded the terms mentioned above. The lawsuit alleges that this agreement imposed unfair and severe obligations and sacrifices on SumaiL without his knowledge. It also claimed that the release agreement had numerous inconsistencies, irregularities, and unenforceable conditions.
Moreover, it tried to exploit the unequal bargaining power between SumaiL and Evil Geniuses by compelling the player to relinquish his entire stock in EG. The lawsuit emphasized that this agreement was ambiguous and confusing, and it was designed to force SumaiL into an unfair deal.
In February of the following year, shortly before the pandemic hit, SumaiL was faced with a proposal that seemed to diminish his interest in Evil Geniuses (EG) significantly. This proposal, called a “Unit Purchase Agreement,” aimed to wipe out all of SumaiL’s stakes in EG in exchange for a cool $1 million. The proposal consisted of an initial chunk of $300,000 and a staggered eventual amount of up to $700,000 due for payment following SumaiL’s retirement or March 1, 2023 — whichever came later.
The suit also states that SumaiL did not receive complete information about how this would affect his shares in EG through this agreement. This finally gives way to a direct accusation aimed at EG of being ambiguous about the parameters of SumaiL's exit from the organization, obscuring the ramifications on his shares and other such matters.
Furthermore, the court document claims that SumaiL was never remunerated for the stock he once held in any way, which flew in the face of the lengthy, committed service he had given his old clan.
The legal battle between SumaiL and Evil Geniuses continues to escalate, with the latest accusations claiming that the organization took advantage of a young (he was only 17 at the time) and gullible SumaiL. The lawsuit alleges that EG presented numerous arcane agreements to SumaiL with unfair and vague terms, and tried multiple times to either weasel or push him out of the deserved benefits of his hard work and skills.
Following Evil Geniuses' denial of all allegations, the case will go to trial on June 26th, 2023, leaving the esports community on tenterhooks as they wait to see how this dramatic saga will unfold.