Did Minnesota Negotiate Away Taking Its Video Game Law to the Supreme Court?

As GamePolitics reported yesterday, the ESA announced that Minnesota would reimburse $65,000 in legal fees to the video game industry over the state’s failed 2006 "fine the buyer" video game law.

In our coverage, we mentioned that the move apparently signalled that Minnesota would not be taking the case before the U.S. Supreme Court, its only remaining legal recourse. We’ve got a call into the office of Attorney General Lori Swanson (left) on the Supreme Court issue, but Finance & Commerce now seems to have nailed that part of the story down:

Attorney General Lori Swanson’s decision not to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was “practical,” according to spokesman Benjamin Wogsland, who pointed out that the nation’s highest court takes “less than 1 percent of discretionary cases every year.”

But Paul Smith, an attorney representing the plaintiffs, said Monday that the state decided not to pursue the case further because of a deal that would require the attorney general’s office to pay a reduced amount in fees owed to plaintiff’s lawyers. Smith could not say what the reduced amount was, though a court filing from May 19 shows that the plaintiffs’ lawyers were owed nearly $84,000. Woglsand did not return calls Monday.
 

GP: If Paul Smith is correct, Minnesota essentially bargained away – for $19,000 plus future legal fees –  its opportunity to take its argument before the U.S. Supreme Court. Given all that the state had already invested in the case, that would seem a rather curious decision.

It would have been fascinating – and, yes, risky – for the Supreme Court to consider a video game law, especially given Justice Antonin Scalia’s comments to Law of Play blogger Anthony Prestia that game legislation might be constitutional.

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