In the wake of a recent legal threat by Miami attorney Jack Thompson (left), game publisher Take Two Interactive has launched a pre-emptive strike.
With Thompson threatening to file suit to block the release of Grand Theft Auto 4 and Manhunt 2, Take Two has petitioned the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida for relief.
The software publisher seeks to block Thompson from trying to have the games declared a public nuisance under Florida law. Thompson filed a similar action against Take Two’s Bully last October, but a Florida judge rejected Thompson’s contention, allowing Bully to be sold by retailers.
In its complaint, Take Two claims the action is necessary because:
Thompson has a history of making multiple threats of legal action, whether substantiated or not, both against (Take Two) as well as the retailers who purchase the video games and offer them for sale to the public. Thompson has made such threats again in connection with Manhunt 2 and GTAIV…
The suit alleges that Thompson’s public nuisance tactic violates Take Two’s First Amendment rights. Lawyers for the game publisher argue that the Florida statute under which Thompson is seeking to have the games declared as nuisances essentially makes the controversial lawyer “a private attorney general on behalf of the State of Florida.”
Take Two is also seeking to recover from Thompson its attorney fees and other costs incurred related to the pending legal action.
For his part, Thompson criticizes the Take Two complaint in a writ filed with the Florida Supreme Court, and rather dubiously takes credit for a recent shareholder revolt which is expected to result in the firing of CEO Paul Eibeler as early as next week. The attorney writes:
So successful has Thompson been in exposing the fraud and criminal conduct of Take-Two on the national stage… that a corporate coup by 46% of Take-Two’s shareholders is set for March 23, which nearly all financial analysts… are predicting will be successful and which will result in the firing of all Take-Two management and the entire board…