More interesting details have emerged in the two lawsuits being brought against Activision over the Modern Warfare IP. To recap, the first lawsuit is by former Infinity Ward heads Vince Zampella and Jason West over the circumstances in which they were sacked from the Activision-owned developer of the Modern Warfare series of games, and which features a claim for over US $36m damages (you can read more from me on that lawsuit here). The second lawsuit is by a number of present and former Infinity Ward employees for payment of over US $500m of bonuses which they claim Activision has failed to pay them.
So, what’s happened now? Over to Kotaku, the key highlights being:
- There is a Court hearing set down for August 5th to hear an application to consolidate the two lawsuits into one set of proceedings. This makes sense in evidential terms, given the similar facts and circumstances underpinning both lawsuits. However, in legal terms the lawsuits seem different: West and Zampella are claiming under different contracts to the IW employees. If the legal difference between the cases is found to be quite distinct, then this may be a reason to refuse the consolidation.
- A trial date of May 23 2011 has been set down for the West/Zampella lawsuit. Depending on how the consolidation hearing proceeds, this could be expanded to cover the employees’ lawsuit or potentially could be pushed back in order to accomodate both lawsuits (if for example the employees’ lawsuit won’t be ready for trial by then).
- The employees have made some sort of amendment to their court documents which now pleads more colourful claims against Activision imposing a “police state” on them (from a strictly legal perspective, I’m not sure what any of that really adds to the claim so I won’t go into the detail).
While the latter developments have caught the press’ attention, ultimately it’s the court application and the court timetable updates which are the real news. Of course, it’s worth taking them with a pinch of salt though: the odds are fairly good that this case will settle before it reaches trial. I say that because the rule of thumb is that 9 out of 10 cases settle before they reach trial anyway, but this has got to be a special candidate for settlement given the high profile allegations being made and the sheer nuisance value. Still, I’ve been proven wrong before when it comes to assessing the appetites of litigants to “have their day in court” as one client put it to me recently. Watch this space…