The Tokyo High Court has dismissed an appeal by a formal legal representative of Japanese gaming firm Universal Entertainment Corp claiming US$285,000 in damages for pain, suffering and harm to his reputation.
The High Court decision relates to a 2018 announcement by Universal, published on its corporate website at the time, that it had filed a formal demand with the Dai-Ichi Tokyo Bar Association to take disciplinary measures against Yuki Arai – who served as an auditor of the company for one year from June 2014 to June 2015 – for violating multiple legal provisions in the Attorney Act and the Japanese Federation of Bar Associations’ Basic Rules on the Duties of Practicing Attorneys.
Arai was accused of unfairly billing the company for an “enormous sum” of ¥11.2 billion (US$100 million) for his services and refusing to return overpaid remunerations.
Specifically, Universal stated at the time that Arai had changed the main executing entity in his contract with the company to a corporation in the British Virgin Islands of which he served as a representative, but which was not registered to provide legal services, for the sole purpose of obtaining compensation.
Universal alleged that in March 2018, Arai subsequently misinterpreted an “economic benefit” stipulation in his contract and billed the company a total of ¥11.2 billion (US$100 million) for his services. The bill, in the name of Director Yuki Arai, “was accompanied with a threatening notice” which Universal said was in violation of Article 24 of the Basic Rules which stipulates, “An attorney shall present appropriate and reasonable fees, considering the economic benefit, difficulty of the case, time and labor and other circumstances.”
In response, Arai filed a lawsuit against Universal in July 2018 seeking compensation for damages totaling JPY15 million (US$142,400) and publication of an apology. That lawsuit was dismissed by the Tokyo District Court in March of this year, after which Arai appealed and added secondary claims for another JPY15 million in pain, suffering and attorney fees.
In a Tuesday announcement, Universal said that appeal has now also been dismissed, along with all additional claims of the appellant, who will be liable for all litigation costs resulting from the trial.
The company added it is yet to recoup almost ¥9 million (US$80,000) in overpaid wages accidentally paid to Arai following termination of his contract, and that he has continued to ignore demands.
Universal is a developer of pachinko and pachislot machines in Japan and is parent company of Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment Inc, which operates Philippines integrated resort Okada Manila.