California Court of Appeal

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Kyablue v. Watkins, B233860

In plaintiff's suit for breach of contract against a professional gambler to recover two sets of funds, one to play poker according to plaintiff's specific instructions where it was legal to do so, and the other as a loan for living expenses to defendant, trial court's order sustaining defendant's demurrer on the ground that California public policy forbids enforcement of gambling-related contracts is reversed and remanded where: 1) in this case, it is California's policy against gambling itself rather than against specific manifestations of gambling, such as enforcement of debts or recovery of losses, and here, the funds at issue were never to be used for gambling purposes where gambling was illegal; 2) the forfeiture resulting from unenforceability is disproportionately harsh considering the nature of the illegality, the relative fault of the contracting parties and the unjust enrichment of defendant; and 3) contracts that involve both unlawful and lawful provisions may be enforced if the illegal portion is severable from the legal, as in this case where two separate funds of money was given to defendant.

Appellate Information

  • Decided 11/06/2012
  • Published 11/06/2012


  • Epstein


  • California Court of Appeal


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