In Lawsuit, Banned Resistance Player Alleges that Sony Violated Free Speech and Stole His Money

A PlayStation 3 gamer has filed suit in U.S. District Court in California, alleging that SCEA suppressed his free speech rights and caused him pain and suffering by banning his account on the PlayStation Network.

In a complaint filed on July 6th, Erik Estavillo of San Jose writes that he his disabled by a variety of disorders; among these are agoraphobia, a fear of crowds:

The pain and suffering was caused by the defendant, Sony, banning the plaintiff’s account on the PlayStation 3 Network, in which the plaintiff relies on to socialize with other people, since it’s the only way the plaintiff can truly socialize since he also suffers from Agoraphobia…

Estavillo’s issues with SCEA apparently stem from his play of the PS3 hit Resistance: Fall of Man:

The ban is supposedly due to the behavior of the plaintiff when he plays the video game "Resistance: Fall of Man," which Sony owns and employs moderators for its online play. These moderators kick and ban players that they feel are deserving; though their biases to a player seem to be what determines the kick or ban…


The plaintiff was exercising his First Amendment Rights to Freedom of Speech in the game’s public forum when he was banned from, not only [Resistance], but also banned from playing all other games online via the PlayStation Network…

Estavillo also claims that the PSN ban amounts to a theft of his pre-paid points:

The plaintiff…cannot access [his] money when a moderator from Resistance and Sony gives a player a arbitrary wide-range ban… which in essence, is stealing money from the player…

Estavillo also argues that the EULA for online play of Resistance is ineffective in blocking players under the game’s recommended age of 17, although it’s unclear how this fits into his claim.

In his request to the court, Estavillo, who appears to be unrepresented, asks that SCEA be enjoined from banning players. He also seeks $55,000 in punitive damages.

To date, SCEA has not filed a response with the Court. GamePolitics has requested comment on the lawsuit from SCEA.

DOCUMENT DUMP: Grab a copy of Estavillo vs. SCEA here

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  1. Tem Weathers says:

    Since noone else has mentioned this, I figured I’d throw this out there.

    If your Playstation account gets banned, only the account itself is banned, not the system. All this person would have to do is create a new Playstation account and he’d be right back in the game. The only things he would lose access to are his trophies (which can simply be achieved again) and any games/DLC he purchased (because those are linked to the account they were purchased from, Live and Steam are the same way as far as I know).

  2. Chuma says:

    If anyone thinks that his behaviour is okay and that the ban wasn’t justified then I pity you.  I’ve been far from pro-Sony in t he last couple of years, but all power to them this time and I hope they win this legal challange at the first hurdle.

  3. Monte says:

     That’s what i was getting at… i mean i know big companies have huge teams of lawyers and will bring in several to argue a case. My point was that due to the kids special conditions, the courts might be willing to make special exceptions for him to limit those who can be at the case… who knows, they might even be able to set a live video feed, so that anyone else who wants to watch the case can do so from outside.

    Not to mention that Sony would only need one half-way decent lawyer to win this joke of a lawsuit. 

  4. a_pink_poodle says:

    Sounds like the guy openly questioned another players sexuality and their mothers virtue. Except in a more cruder presentation.

  5. JDKJ says:

    Fear of panic attacks is a component of agoraphobia but my understanding is that there is also a fear of certain environments or spaces conponent involved in that the sufferer fears having a panic attack in an environment over which they have no control. It’s the combined fear of (a) having a panic attack in (b) a situation over which they have no control. And the response to these twin fears is to avoid situations over which they believe they have no control (hence the hermit-like behavior). It’s not so much that the sufferer believes that by never leaving their home, they’ll never have a panic attack. It’s more the belief that if they do have a panic attack, it’s better to have it at home.     

  6. DarkeSword says:

    I didn’t think PSN used a points system. When I had my PS3 I bought one thing from the PSN store and they charged my credit card directly for it, no points were involved.

    Not quite.  When you buy something from the PSN store, you add money to your PSN wallet and then use that money in the wallet to make your purchase.  They make the process seamless on PSN so that you don’t really notice, but the charge on your card indicates money added to your wallet, not money given in exchange for downloadables.  It is exactly like the Points on XBL, except there’s no dollars-to-points abstraction going on. 

    Incidentally it’s a pretty crappy system that’s bad for consumers, but that’s a whole ‘nother discussion.

  7. questionmark1987 says:

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply that Agoraphobia was not a real phobia. I apoligize to anyone if my comment came across that way. I was only trying to clarify (to the best of my knowledge) the actual meaning of agoraphobia as many people assume it means "fear of leaving the home" when it (once again to the best of my knowledge, based on psychologists I have spoken with) actually is a "severe fear of panic attacks" brought on by reoccuring severe panic attacks. The hermit behavior is a symptom of it, not a cause.

    Sorry again if I came across as meaning that it was not a "real" phobia. That was not my intent.

  8. Nocturne says:

    None of the ‘being removed from X venue" analogies really work because it’s not an online only game. It would be more like being kicked out of the movie theatre but given a copy on DVD so you can watch it in private without bothering anyone else, you may prefer to watch the film with a crowd but you still have the ability to watch what you paid for.

  9. Nocturne says:

    The money is $20 in his Playstation Wallet, used for buying DLC from the Playstation Store, not for any services. Once the moneys been put in the wallet though it’s like buying MS points, the money is already the property of the company you’ve paid it too, you can’t get that money back. If he’s been completely kicked off the Playstation Network (which would have to be the case if he can’t access the wallet) then it’s going to be something more serious that he was just being a dick in one game.

  10. deathvanquished says:

    Agoraphobia is listed as a Clinical Phobia so it is considered to be a "real" phobia, but it doesn’t matter anyways because he would have to prove that he was born and raised to use the Playstation Network as his only form of communication and he would also have to prove that he has absolutely no other social outlet(i.e. Facebook, Myspace, etc).  But seeing what kind of person he is and because he was banned, it shows that he is just a bad person overall and shouldn’t have any interaction with the outside world.

    Thank you Sony.  Thank you for banning people like this from your service, you have performed a great deed for all mankind.

  11. questionmark1987 says:

    If you ask an actual psychiatrist or psychologist they’ll tell you Agoraphobia is actually a severe fear of panic attacks, usually brought on by a severe panic attack. The reason it’s often mistaken for fear of being outside by laymen is that to avoid being in situations where the person might HAVE a panic attack, they don’t leave the home.

  12. SpaceGhost2K says:

    Sony will never let this go to court, if the courts are blind enough to let it through. Technically, the service is free. All he’s "out" is any money he’s spent on downloaded content, which is almost certainly less than $100. If Sony reimbursed him for that content, he’d have nothing to be fighting for. If his "lawyer" turned down an offer of reimbursement from Sony, that would be the clincher from the court’s POV.

    This is going to go away.

  13. jedidethfreak says:

    That is if, in fact, he was violating the rules (playing devil’s advocate here).  Unless and until this goes to trial, we might not know what he said to be banned.

    Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone’s feelings.

  14. JDKJ says:

    Are you certain that it’s entomophobia? It could be lupus. I think we should play it safe and schedule you for an MRI and a CAT scan, just so we’re certain.

  15. ecco6t9 says:

    Simple look at many stores and resturants that have that sign that says "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone."

  16. Seiena_Cyrus says:

    So I was looking it up online, the Phobia for being afraid of Crowds is "Enochlophobia". Just thought everyone would like to know that XD I know what Agoraphobia is because I got accused of it becuase I suffer from "Entomophobia" in other words I’m terrorfied of Bugs of all kinds which limits how well I do outdoors, so I was accused of not being afraid of bugs but being outside XD But anyways yeah Enochlophobia is what I found doing a massive search…they do list Agoraphobia sometimes but the majority stat it as Enochlophobia.

  17. Seiena_Cyrus says:

    sqlrob I’m wondering if they banned him from accessing PSN at -ALL- Because points are used for buying games through the PSN network that might be what’s going on that they banned him from the servers completely and now he can’t buy games from them or anything.

  18. Seiena_Cyrus says:

    So okay Lets point something else out, Discrimination law. He’s protected under it because they would concider his phobias to be mental disorders. So technically they would probably have to comply with the wishes of this guy and try to limit the exposure to crowds for his sake because everyone has their right to their day in court and no one wants to have to face the ACLU and other groups who wouldn’t care about why he went to court just that they discriminated against him.

  19. JDKJ says:

    It’s certainly none with which I’m familiar. And I’m not so sure it’s a product of shadiness as much as it a lack of mastery of the language. After all, this is the same guy who thinks he’s in "a proper Venus."

  20. JDKJ says:

    If had to choose between (a) the mildest case of austism possible and (b) being forever stuck with the mind of a five-year-old but having the ability to count the cards in an eight deck blackjack shoe, I’m picking (a) every time.

  21. Torven says:

    JDKJ, is "convincing medical documents" some kind of legalese term, or does that really sound as shady as I think it does?

  22. JDKJ says:

    But we can’t EVER say that with any certainty until we’ve run an MRI, done a CAT scan, and started a full course of intravenous antibiotics!  

  23. Torven says:

    Nope, but on the flip side, I have the mildest case the state neurologist had ever seen in his career, milder even than most cases of Aspergers that he had come across.

  24. Arimer says:

    This guys just grasping at straws.  First it sounds like he’s just making up illnesses for th sympathy side of it.  I have ocd, Panic disorder, oh and Agoraphobia. . . Maybe even herpes.  

    Second if you notice the last thing he’s requesting a trial by jury which means he’s hoping to profit based on a jury’s lack of knowledge on the subject.

    Also, I like how he apparantly knows the corporate stance of each company.  Nintendo doesn’t ban, Xbox rarely does.   Seems I remember multiple times that xbox has announced massive sweeping bans and on there have been several stories online of people being banned for profanity or racism in profiles.

  25. Defenestrator says:


    You are a constant failure.  When you sign up for PSN (and any other online service) you have to agree to their rules, one of which is typically "User agrees to not use profane or offensive language" and user essentially agrees not to behave like a douchebag utilizing the anonymity of the internet to get away with stuff that would in all likelihood have someone kicking the crap out of him in real life.  I don’t know what this guy did to get banned, but after reading some stuff that X-Box Live has banned people for (and they keep recordings and other evidence just in case stuff like this happens), these services simply aren’t banning people because the moderator was having a bad day (although they DO reserve the right to do this). 

    Most of these services do have temporary bans UNLESS the behavior in question is so egregiously bad that it warrants a permanent ban.  It could also be true that PSN already had a folder on this guy and had issued warnings to him that went ignored (we don’t know).

    1) Resistance: Fall of Man does indeed state that the multiplayer is a major feature of the game.  But, like on any other game box in the existence of these consoles, it also says you need to have an internet connection to utilise it, and that you must also subscribe to the appropriate network (PSN in this case) to use it. 

    2) You have to sign off on PSN’s rules to gain access there.

    3) Violation of said rules get you banned from PSN, meaning you no longer satisfy the conditions of #1.  That’s the user’s fault.  Period.  End of story.


  26. Austin_Lewis says:

    Monte, as it is my birthday and I am feeling generous, allow me to enlighten you to something.

    You see, large corporations have law TEAMS.  Whereas a small company (like mine) may have only 1 or 2 (or 3, in my case) lawyers, these large corporations may have HUNDREDS.  More often, these HUNDREDS of lawyers are culled from the finest schools, fatted on the finest meats, and given the finest of housing.  And why?  Because they are very good at what they do. 

    So, when someone (like the jackass we’re all talking about) decides to sue SCEA, you don’t sit in a courtroom with but 1 lawyer on the other side.  You sit in a courtroom with at least 5 of the best corporate lawyers available to that company.  This is, in of itself, daunting enough.  However, you may be sitting next to 5 lawyers at the table, and then a few dozen more lawyers from the company observing, which makes it all the more daunting.

    Couple that with the fact that the complainant seems to have no idea what the fuck he’s doing, and you have the makings of a court case that will be both short and hilarious.

  27. Nessmk2 says:

    Let’s also remember that this was a ban by a corp., not some privately-owned server. I would imagine that the odds of being banned for little/no reason would go down when you could get fired for such antics. If they went around banning people without cause, that information would get out and their business would quickly decline.


    Edit: And, as for the ‘stealing money due to loss of online privlages"… If you drive recklessly and lose your liscense, you don’t get a refund for your car, do you? They took away your ability to drive, but they hardly have to give you money for it. Same principle, I believe. If you do something to get your ability to use your product taken away due to behavior, it’s your own fault for not caring about your investment. It’s not like banning is a new thing, or some unspeakable evil that is called down once a lifetime. It’s (fairly) common.

  28. Monte says:

     Well we don’t know what got him banned, it could be any number of reasons… 

    The reason he brings up his mental condition is to argue that Sony has caused him pain and suffering. By cutting him off from PSN, they have cut him off of one of his main outlets for his social needs… So really, the reason for him being banned is unrelated to the mere fact that he got banned.

    Hopefully the court will have enough common sense to know that having a mental condition does not permit him to violating the rules for a private service. Just because he’s afraid to go outside does not mean that everyone else on PSN must hear his trash (though to be fair, we still do not know what he said to get banned); unless his mental condition makes it physically impossible for him to be a dick, then he’s got to play by the rules like everyone else… 

  29. Wormdundee says:

    I don’t even understand what his complaint is? He used a private service as a venue to be a jackass, and was thus banned from the service. I’m quite sure Sony has the ability to ban anyone for any reason at all, as does any private venue.

  30. Monte says:

    I have no clue about how the court system works in this regard, but i would imagine that the courts would be able to make a few adjustments for him if he requested it… like having the case handled behind closed doors with only those necessary in attendance or something…

  31. jedidethfreak says:

    Your first paragraph is what I thought the explaination was, but that brings me back to my question of what he said to be banned, and now a second question, which is what does what he said have to do with his menal issues?  I’m assuming he said something, due to his mental issues, that got him banned.  What was it?  Will Sony or this guy release that?

    Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone’s feelings.

  32. Mattie says:

    I can’t help but think that this guy was being an ass and it whining because someone actually did something about it.

  33. Thomas McKenna says:

     In short:  It’s a private company, they can do what they want.  The 1st Amendment is a restriction against the State and has no legal bearing on a private company.  If the guy violated their rules, they have every right to ban him.

    My note to the guy, go QQ some more.

  34. JDKJ says:

    Do you have any of the special gifts with which the autistic are often blessed? Like the ability to calculate in your head the square root of any number within mere seconds?

    I saw an episode of "Nova" the other night where this British guy who was blind and autistic could play back note for note on a piano any piece of music played for him only one time, no matter how musically complex. Mind-boggling to see him do it.

  35. Zero Beat says:

    Complainant: I’ll settle for no fewer than $1 million!

    Defendant: How about this cat?

    Complainant: A cat will do.


    "That’s not ironic. That’s justice."

  36. Zero Beat says:

    I was thinking of that episode when I read your first paragraph.

    Everyone agrees that House is awesome.  If you don’t agree, you have lupus.


    "That’s not ironic. That’s justice."

  37. Tony says:

    How do you know that isn’t what happened?  In most games you don’t get a ban straight away (they want your money, after all) you have to do something pretty serious – and repeat it several times – to get a permanent ban.


  38. Arell says:

    How’s the guy going to get to the courthouse?

    Anyway, I won’t form an opinion until I hear why he was banned.  I highly doubt that he was kicked out just because a moderator didn’t like him, but you never know.

  39. Torven says:

    I have high-functioning Autism and, as a result, am very uncomfortable around people.  I think the last time I saw one of my friends face to face was about six months ago (could have been eight).  On the other hand, I chat daily with my friends online because that extra level of abstraction counteracts much of my inability to read emotional cues.

  40. JDKJ says:

    I think agoraphobia has more to do with spaces – be they public, open, unfamiliar, etc. – over which the sufferer fears they have no control. Which is why they often respond to their fears by confining themselves to spaces over which they believe they can exert some control (e.g., their homes). Agoraphobes can even get freaked out by strangers entering their "controlled environments" because of their irrational fear that their control has been somehow diminished by the stranger’s presence.

    How do I know this? From my college Psych 101 class? Nope. Seen it in an episode of "House."

  41. hellfire7885 says:

    The service in and of itself is, but other parts of the service likely not. According to what I read up there he did spend some of his own money on PSN points. Though since the PS3 has been kidna shafted in the DLC market, I dunno what he’d spend those on.

  42. Icehawk says:

    Wanting human (or what passes for it) interaction without the feeling of being smothered by the crowd (sorry that what it feels like to me).  Bacially this guy is claiming he cannot deal with groups of real life people but internet people are not real which to a point is true. 

    Also I find I curious if this is the first time he was modded.  Get the feeling he has a history of them which is possibly why he was threatened with a lifetime ban. 

  43. jedidethfreak says:

    I’m curious as to what he actually said to get him banned.  Also, if he has a problem with groups and crowds, why would you play an online game?

    Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone’s feelings.

  44. Truec says:

    Several people have commented that a lifetime ban seems a steep punishment.  I’d like to point out that this is probably not a for a first offense.  This guy seems like exactly the kind of moron to ignore numerous warnings and timed bans and then whine about being oppressed when they finally cut him off for good.

  45. nightwng2000 says:

    An interesting argument.

    I tried comparing this to going to a movie theater, buying a ticket, disrupting the movie and being kicked out during the movie, told never to come back to the theater.

    But there are a number of differences as well.

    You buy a movie ticket, one ticket, one showing.  You’d also have access to the movie, eventually, in other ways.  And you can go to other movie theaters.

    What about comparing to a season’s pass to a sport arena or to a concert hall?  Half way through the season, you’re expelled and told you can never come back.

    If you feel you’ve been wrongly banned and after attempting to settle the issue with the site, you fail to get anywhere, you could always sue.

    it does seem reasonable from the perspective of some.

    Some issues of Freedom of Speech, including over the internet, are found here:


    NW2K Software

    Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as

  46. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Not when the MP side is sold as a major part of the game, sorry you fail try again plz =^^=.

    Not to mention if they bought the PS3 when it was 500+…. but anyway

    Rather than resorting to banning a customer from potential sales,ect you temp ban them and add onto suspension time if they are bad in other games this way after a month or a year they can still get back into things without losing  right to have an account, and this would work for MMOs as well you merely temp ban them fro the sever, each sever eqaules a weeks time after 3 or 4 a months time each.

    All I am saying its far to easy to lose ones  access  to something that is paid for one way or another, and after awhile you lose customers, so temp bans would be less problematic for everyone.

    I am a criminal because I purchase media,I am a criminal because I use media, I am a criminal because I chose to own media..We shall remain criminals until Corporate stay’s outside our bedrooms..

  47. Torven says:

    Well, he self filed, and judging from the state of the document, this kid is no legal eagle…at least not one who is willing to check the spelling and grammar of a document before submitting it to the courts.  My personal favorite is in the venue description where he states, "Venus is appropriate…"

  48. DarkSaber says:

    Agoraphobia is the fear of open spaces.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  49. Neeneko says:

    It will probably hinge on, was he being a huge jerk when modded (compared to other players), or was it some kind of personal thing.  As others have pointed out, mods can be really arbitrary sometimes.

    The agoraphobia sounds like it is one of the lesser issues the person has.  Multiple disorders PLUS Crohn’s disease (which triggers with stress, making ‘getting stressed’ extremely unpleasent and possibly dangerous)…. so assuming the list is real, it is probably someone with few options and fairly restricted to home.

    I actually know a few people who are too mentally ill to leave the home.  Not as much to do about it as people think sometimes, and online serives really do provide a lifeline.   Though overdepencence on ONE is a horrible idea and his doctor should be discouraging it.

  50. Icehawk says:

    Having a bit of trouble wrapping my head out this.  Check me please. 

    The guy was such a jerk that he got modded then kicked.   

    He apparently has a fear of crowds (I do myself but to lesser degree apparently) so this gives him some special rights? 

    So basically he can be an arse and if called on it is having his rights taken away and if he is not is a blight on society (or a bigger one than he is at present)?

    I would wish him luck but find I REALLY dont mean it in this case.  I would encourage him to slither off to some hole somewhere away from people and try to grow a spine. 



  51. GoodRobotUs says:

    Depends on the severity of what he did. I do feel inclined to agree that a permanent ban is a bit steep considering he loses the online benefit of all his games, but then, I don’t know what he said, if what he said was racist, sexist etc, then possibly a timed ban was better, we all deserve a chance to learn from our own stupidity. I also don’t know whether any timed bans took place before the permanent one, which would have an impact.

    However, if what he said was threatening or was harassment etc, then possibly a permanent ban is acceptable, there’s one thing being prejudiced, a whole other threatening people.

    Legally, he doesn’t have a leg to stand on, but it’s really hard to make any kind of ‘gut’ judgement without knowing what was said.

  52. Neeneko says:

    While such refusal signs are valid, the buisness looses protection once it accepts money.  Or at minimal, people have a case after that point.

    It does not mean they will win.. as another poster pointed out, getting kicked out of a movie theater does not entitle one to a refund, but this is purely based off what a jury will accept.  For instance, if a (insert group) couple walked into a theater, bought tickets, and were kicked out as soon as they got to the loby, they would probably win a suit.  Once you agree to deliver a service the customer has a reasonable expectation of recieving that service.

  53. ZippyDSMlee says:

    I have eben randomly kicked for saying harmless random stuff, and have seen people been randomly baned for worse and worse yet I have seen moderator pets get away with just about anything….


    I am a criminal because I purchase media,I am a criminal because I use media, I am a criminal because I chose to own media..We shall remain criminals until Corporate stay’s outside our bedrooms..

  54. ZippyDSMlee says:

    60$ a new game, that money, foo!!

    I am a criminal because I purchase media,I am a criminal because I use media, I am a criminal because I chose to own media..We shall remain criminals until Corporate stay’s outside our bedrooms..

  55. Neeneko says:

    I admit, I am not sure I understand where the money comes into play in this case since I am not familiar with how Sony’s online service works.

    But no, the Sony mods do not have an unlimited card here.  You can not, for instance, put in a contract ‘we reserve the right to terminate the contract and keep your fee at any time for any reason’.  Companies often do but they tend to loose lawsuits when they actually get called on it.  Once you agree to provide a service, yanking that away without justification can be actionable.

    For instance, if the power company decided to cut you off because they don’t like your lawn Gnome, even if they have a ‘for any reason’ clause in their contract (I know cable and phone companies do), they would probably loose a suit if one wanted to put the energy into pushing it.

  56. SpiralGray says:

    I didn’t think PSN used a points system. When I had my PS3 I bought one thing from the PSN store and they charged my credit card directly for it, no points were involved.

    Also, there is no subscription fee for PSN.

    Finally, ever seen that sign in a business that says, "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone?" That’s what Sony is doing.

    If this wasn’t an argument for tort reform…

  57. sqlrob says:

    Yes, the moderators do have that card.

    Sony’s servers, Sony’s rules. And what money? PSN is free.


  58. Neeneko says:

    Playing a bit of  a devil’s advocate here….

    I am curious about the specifics of the case.   If the moderators do not have oversight or an appeal process, he might have a case.  While private companies have the power to drop users based of violations, the do not have a magic ‘shut down anyone an unmoderated moderator feels like and keep their money’ card.

    So if he can show that he did not violate any speech guidelines and was banned due to some personal grudge (such as a moderator not liking is political opinion), then while he would not have a 1st amendment case, he MIGHT have a contract violation or unfair business practices one.

    Again, without any details it is hard to say what is going on here.

  59. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Simple don’t ban, rather kick them out of games after 5 or 10 kicks they get temp banned from that game for a day, if they get temp baned from another game thats a weeks ban from both, another game theres another week for all the games they been an annoyance on, on the 4th game they are temp baned for 60 days on the listed games, each game after that is another 30 days ontop of whatever suspension time they earned.

    This way you only get any real down time if managed to piss off at least 3 different moderator’s, this is better than some moderation systems because the mods can’t outright ban you without some effort put into it(would also help run down bad moderators who would go the extra mile and hope games looking for spiffeffic people to ban). I say this because gaming is getting to be to expensive to ban someone just because asshattedness on either the consumer or moderator part.


    I am a criminal because I purchase media,I am a criminal because I use media, I am a criminal because I chose to own media..We shall remain criminals until Corporate stay’s outside our bedrooms..

  60. Austin_Lewis says:

    A few points.

    1) He has agoraphobia, the fear of crowds, right?  Then how does he hope to represent himself in the courtroom?  You see, most agoraphobes shut down when brought into a crowded setting (like a courtroom), and I don’t doubt that having 5 to 10 lawyers from Sony and whoever made Resistance standing there and tearing you apart probably won’t help.  I think the agoraphobia claim is a sham.

    2) I would like to know what he said.  I’ve heard moderators tolerate some pretty foul language in all the days I’ve been playing on PC, Ps2, Xbox 360, PS3, Dreamcast, etc, etc.  I don’t doubt for a minute that he probably earned this ban.

    3) I enjoy that he wants to force SCEA to lose the power to ban.  Any company in America can, at any time, choose not to serve someone for any reason.  So he’s got no real recourse here.

    Here’s how I see the court case going;  Erik will make a statement, Sony’s law team will make a statement, Erik will make some claims (and probably call himself to the stand as the sole witness) and then, upon cross-examination, Sony’s lawyers will rip him a new asshole, and probably even bring up EXACTLY what he said online that lead to the ban. 

    Of course, this will be in California, where some of the world’s most fucktarded rulings have been handed down, so I could be wrong.   But I doubt it.

  61. Zerodash says:

    Totally frivilous and another indicator of a society believing that they are entitled to everything. 

    This guy is taking a Jack Thompson approach to the situation:  1) Act like a douche in a privately-owned environment, violating behavior guidelines.  2) Get banned for acting like a douche.  3) Bring out lawsuits, lame excuses, and shout about your 1st Amendment rights are being violated.

    Fortunately, as our old friend has shown, step 4 is "fail".

  62. wintermute says:

    I hope he realizes that Sony has a pretty solid case against him, and wouldn’t settle out of court just because he might have a very, very slight chance of getting his case heard.  I also hope he realizes that any lawyers he’s brought into this case are going to want their money, win, lose, or thrown out.

  63. inBlue says:

     Its actually a bit sickening. I’ve had the unfortunate experience to have had played Resistance online with this Mr. Estavillo, and I can garuantee all those who want to know more about what he did to get banned from the network that he deserved the banned. If you get a chance to check out his videos on his youtube channel watch the one were he gets banned by a moderator. Notice after all his egging on off the mods, he only gets kicked out the game after he starts harrassing the other players in the room (which effectively defeats his arguement saying that mods kick/ban people because of their own bias). That last few minutes of him harassing people on video is actually a shade more tame then his usual actions online. I once watched him follow one player around through several games just so he could spend the night harrassing her. He argues that PS3 and Resistance both offer players the option to mute/ignore other player, and while this is true he often makes his way around these securities just so he can continue to verbally harras other players (ie. he’ll sit in the lobby of a game, with out actually joining into actual game play. Once it seems that everyone or whomever he’s harrassing in particular has muted him, he’ll leave the lobby and enter right back in, effectively bybassing the mute. He also plays on several more accounts than just the one that got banned (the vincint19 account was the one with the most tracable offenses, thanks to him putting his videos up on youtube) and because he is able to create and play on as many accounts as he wishes, he can effectively defeat the permanance of the (psn) block and ignore (RFOM) features.

     It’s such a shame that he banks on the arguement on his freedom of speech. No party should be expected to uphold this right when the perpatrator (Estavillo) abuses this freedom to harass and terrorize the party’s intrest (the remainder of the PSN community). Its almost like saying the KKK has the right to promote hateful/maliscous speech on the grounds that the 1st amendment gives every the right to do and say whatever the hell they want without having to be held accountable for their words and/or actions. (if you’ve met vincint online, or at least seen the video where he gets kicked by a mod, it’s obvious he believes this to be true).

     Actually the part that is most disgusting, is that I’ve actually had a chance to talk with "vincint" about this lawsuit (while inside a RFOM game) and try to explain to him how he is the one at fault here, not SCEA, and he agreed to some degree that he would probably not win the case (though he believes that if he had a jury full of people who where completely unfamiliar to the PS3 and RFOM systems he would surely win, which is why he demands a jury) he is pushing foward because he believes that SCEA push for settling out of court because it would be cheaper and easier for the company. (<— his words, paraphrased). If he could he would get the use of mods abolished, most likely so he can continue menacing others without worry of being interupted, but he’s most realisticaly interested in the money he could wring out of SCEA. This whole case is just… sad… He’s not some poor kid, depressed because he’s lost his "outlet" for the world. He’s just a Jack@$$ looking to score a little money of what he think’s is an easy target.

  64. Nocturne says:

    I believe that’s the case. Money you’ve paid into the wallet is already property of Sony, you can’t withdraw it (same as you can’t turn MS points back into cash). You don’t have to keep any money in the wallet and the service is free so I think it’s a case of ‘tough shit’ to be honest.

  65. lordlundar says:

    Odds are there’s a part in the EULA that states they do not have to refund anything if they are not at fault. Most (if not all) online services that you have to pay for have this is one way or another.

    Besides, it’s not like he can’t use his sytem anymore. He can still play offline.

  66. Nocturne says:

    No, I think Josepth4th is mistaken about FFXI, SOE wern’t involved in that game at all. Customer service for all versions of FFXI was handled by PlayOnline which is Square’s company.

  67. Dragoon1376 says:

    Weird.  Since FFXI was multiplatform, I would have guessed that Square would have handled the customer service across all platforms instead of letting SOE handle it.  Do you know if Microsoft handled FFXI customer service on the Xbox?

    First secure an independent income, then practice virtue. -Greek Proverb

  68. Joseph4th says:

    SOE did customer service for FFXI at their San Diego office. Back then EQ, SWG, and FFXI customer service was all in the same building.

  69. Dragoon1376 says:

    If the accounts are tied to FFXI, then it would be Square-Enix’s call, not Sony’s.  I forget the relation between Sony and the Resistance devs (I think it’s Incog but I could be wrong), but they probably have a first party relationship whereas Square is a third party publisher.

    First secure an independent income, then practice virtue. -Greek Proverb

  70. CEOIII says:

    Best. Judgement. EVER. I may even change my opinion of lawyers if that ever happens.

    I’m Charlie Owens, good night, and good luck.

  71. GoodRobotUs says:

    Wouldn’t it be absolutely epic if they did though?

    ‘It is the considered opinion of this Court that the Appellant can go fuck himself….’

  72. JDKJ says:

    I’ve never heard of a federal court issuing that specific judgment but, yes, I doubt my man’s gonna be lingering on anyone’s docket for too long. Actually, as a matter of pure civil procedure, he won’t even get to the point in the process of summary judgment. He falls victim to the more earlier appearing "failure to state a claim for which relief can be granted" (i.e., the litigant has presented the court with no valid claim upon which judgment can be passed, summarily or otherwise). 

  73. SpaceGhost2K says:

    Sony is neither the federal nor the state government. They can decide what they will allow or won’t.

    If you went onto Sony’s gaming network, and badmouthed them while pimping the Xbox 360, you can bet they’re gonna pull your plug. Even though what you said was not imflammatory, obscene, racist, homophobic, slandarous, etc. it wouldn’t matter. Anything that they feel is inappropriate, for any reason that they deem sufficient, can get you booted, and this guy agreed to that when he marked off that little box that said "I have read and agree to the terms of service."

  74. Vake Xeacons says:

    "Congress shall pass no law respecting the establishment of religion, nor restricting the free exercise thereof, nor any law abridging the freedom of speech, the freedom of press, the freedom of the people to peacefully assemble, and the freedom of the people to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

    The Supreme Court has also declared this also applies to state governments as well.

    I’ll let everyone else make their own opinions on whether this kid’s rights were supressed.

  75. SpaceGhost2K says:

    That’s the whole thing… we don’t NEED to know what he said. He could have said "I like my Grandma’s cooking." It’s irrelevant. The terms of service say that players can be banned for conduct at the discretion of the moderators. Whatever the terms of service specify, he agreed to them or he wouldn’t be playing games over the service. If Sony’s mods banned him, they did so according to terms he agreed to.

    Sony is not going to pull the plug on a source of revenue unless he did something the mods can backup as having violated the terms of service. Even if we know what it was, and even if we disagreed, it doesn’t matter. It’s their call and he agreed to give them that power. He’s S.O.L.

  76. Nekowolf says:

    Actually, "hate speech" is an iffy one. It tends to vary more on case-by-case, than as a blanket. Technically, hate speech is protected, however, inciting violence is not. To use an example:

    If I said, "X are all greedy bastards and ruin the world," that would technically be protected, because it is an expression of opinion.

    But then if I said, "We must rise and fight X, we must be rid of their kind," that is inciting violence, and hence, may not be protected.

    That’s what I understand, anyway. If anyone wants to correct me, please do.

  77. JDKJ says:

    "Not to suggest that Mr. Estavillo has a legal leg upon which to stand" was my more charitable way of saying that he’s got to be f—ing kidding me.

  78. lordlundar says:

    In both of those examples, there was a state presence, whether being on public sanctioned land as in the first example, or by being a public representative as in the second part. In the case of this, there was no state presence exhibited. At no point is anyone in authority working for the state nor is any public sactioned land or state property being used.

    Not dismissing your statements, just clarifying how futile his claim is. Personally, I would think any decent lawyer would look at this, say "are you f—ing kidding me?" and drop any involvement in the case.

  79. JDKJ says:

    Not to suggest that Mr. Estavillo has a legal leg upon which to stand, but it’s not necessarily so cut and dried. Yes, a valid claim of an abrigement of a First Amendment right does require so-called "state action." But that requirement of state action could, in some circumstances, be satisfied by the action of a wholly non-government entity provided they are acting for and with the approval of the government. For example, if a state univeristy campus has been used as a "public forum," then the public is entitled to reasonably use that forum for the expression of speech (which is why crazies like Fred Phelps like to set up shop on the campus of the University of Kansas). If, for example, a private security firm employed by the university was to unreasonably drag a speaker off the campus in mid-speech, then that action by the non-government entity (i.e., the private security firm) could well be attributable to the state university as one done by its agent with their approval. If so, then the requirement of state action is satisfied.

    A similiar notion is expressed in 42 USC 1983 which forbids the violation of a person’s civil rights by another person "acting under color of state law." It’s also called the Klu Klux Klan Act and has its genesis in the fact that during post-Reconstruction the Klan was often used by the Southern states as unofficial agents for depriving the newly-freed slaves of their civil rights. That the Klan was facially a private organization didn’t matter, as long as their actions were with sanction of the state (the county sheriff by day often being a Klan member by night). 

  80. Mortium says:

    Define "more important". If someone has wronged you, or hurt you or your loved ones, there is no case more important than yours.

    Most of the cases "clogging" the courts these days are IP cases or corporate CEOs otherwise going at it, and using their companies as weapons against other CEOs they just don’t like.

    Quiet frankly we have enough proceedures to weed out the frivilous suits very early on in the process. Motions to Dissmiss, THEN discovery, THEN Summary Judgement, then Trial.

  81. Sukasa says:

    Possibly, but it would also save the tax payer alot of money and free up the courts for more important cases. Just because its easy to sue in the US, doesnt make it a good thing. There should be a middle ground where it’s harder to sue and yet still there for those who have serious cases.

  82. Neeneko says:

    Though on the other hand, it also cuts down on the ‘little guy’s’ ablity to access the court system.  People with deep pockets have unfettered access to sue and harass, while poorer litigants have to weigh ruin against the chances of their case being successful.

  83. Demontestament says:

    So let me get this straight, the kid is a douche online and is mad when he gets called out on it and banned? This is not lawsuit material, the mod did not know he has problems with crowds there is no pain and suffering from being banned for being a complete douche to others.

    "The plaintiff was exercising his First Amendment Rights to Freedom of Speech in the game’s public forum when he was banned from, not only [Resistance], but also banned from playing all other games online via the PlayStation Network…"

    The internet is not America. Of course you can say whatever you want on the internet but the First Amendment cannot protect your douchebaggery.

  84. chadachada321 says:

    Well…to me it seems like it’s "getting kicked out of a store and having all of the items that you ALREADY PAYED FOR being taken away too." In my opinion they should refund those points but otherwise I agree with Sony.

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  85. CMiner says:

    If you go to a movie or concert, and get kicked out for whatever reason, they don’t refund your ticket money.  I don’t see this as any different.


    I too would like to know exactly what he was doing when the mods banned him.  And yes, private companies are allowed to moderate their forums as they wish.  If they don’t want anyone to talk about gays, broccoli, the moon, or iran, that’s their perogative.


    What I get out of this after reading the complaints is the same as everyone else.. "I wasn’t being a jack%^&, the mods are just biased against me!"

  86. nightwng2000 says:

    1.  You’re banned because we don’t like what you say or how you say it.  And no one should ever make the argument again that the soliders fighting the "war on terror" are "over there fighting for our freedoms" because they don’t really exist.

    2.  What evidence do you have that he hasn’t and that this isn’t one of the solutions suggested to him?

    3.  Hiding behind your limited knowledge of such conditions while pretending that you know all about them won’t endear you to me.

    So there!  😛


    NW2K Software

    Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as

  87. Philippe says:

    I don’t want to sound insensitive, but… two points:

    1: The First Amendment – or equivalent – does not apply to private property.

    2: Seek professional help.  There’s no shame in this.

    Actually, three (3) points:

    Hiding behind your anxieties will not endear you to me.

  88. Papa Midnight says:

    I suspect the exact same. Remember, right to free speech does not necessitate right to hate speech. Not only that, but it also does not apply to a corporation; especially when said corporation has made it clear in their EULA that they may issue bans to anyone at anytime for any reasonable reason. I get the feeling he probably said something to a moderator or other player who actually reported him and a moderator actually followed through (if only that could happen on XBL, then I might actually be willing to play on it). Then he felt dejected losing a social outlet (Though, I will be honest, if I was a sitting judge and someone came to me with the claim that being banned on a game network caused them great harm, I’d immediately toss the case with prejudice), and decided to file suit (Pray for Wikipedia).

    Papa Midnight

  89. Vake Xeacons says:

    Probably, although I’ll have to hear what Sony has to say about it before I pass judgement. This guy may be suffering from xenophobia as well.

    However, I did hear a similar problem with Sony’s older online games, like FFXI. According to many accounts, bans were based just on what Sony felt was inappropriate or slandering.

  90. Philippe says:

    Part of that is because in the US, it is extremely easy to file a lawsuit, over the most trivial of things.

    As far as I know, In Canada, if you sue someone and lose, you have to pay their legal fees.  That alone cuts down on frivolous lawsuits.

  91. X3R0_9 says:

    1) I agree with everybody that the first amendment does not pertain to private property

    2) What was his actions to get him banned? Must have been pretty bad (language / aggressive behavior). To be banned from everything, had to have been bad enough Sony doesn’t want to deal with it.

    3) I’m not even going to continue. The guy messed up, he’s upset about the situation, and because people believe they can do no wrong; it’s everybody else that screwed up. I love our sue happy nation 🙁

  92. Austin_Lewis says:

    Looks like this guy is representing himself.  I’m willing to bet it won’t lost from 0900 to 0903 without summary judgment that he needs to go fuck himself.

  93. JDKJ says:

    There’s something to be said about a judicial system which lets every litigant with a half-baked theory have their day in court. Even if the "day" only lasts from 9:00 AM to 9:05 AM.  

  94. Thomas says:

    Unless I’m very much mistaken, the first amendment refers only to the government, doesn’t it?

    Private companies can do as they wish.

    "We never paid any heed to the ancient prophecies… Like fools we clung to the old hatreds, and fought as we had for generations"

  95. MechaCrash says:

    I’m not going to leap to any conclusions about just what it was that got this guy banned, but whenver someone natters about their First Amendment rights in a game or on a message board, it usually shows that they have no understanding of what the First Amendment actually is and that they were also being a colossal asshole who deserved to have the banhammer come down on them.

    I will agree that losing his pre-paid points is pretty shitty, though.

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