Law of the Game on Professional Plaintiffs and Class Action Suits

Joystiq’s latest Law of the Game column takes a look at the intertwinement of professional plaintiffs and class action suits.

The article was written in response to a pair of recent news stories: a possible class action suit against Microsoft over Xbox Live bannings and Erik Estavillo, the banned Resistance: Fall of Man player, whose latest lawsuit targets Microsoft and Nintendo.

Author Mark Methenitis denotes a professional plaintiff as someone whose livelihood depends on suing people. He adds that plaintiffs who are gamers are more prone to demonstrate similar standing, versus attaching their suit to a statute, making them a perfect entry point to class action litigation.

Of course, class action lawsuits “tend to be larger and thereby more profitable, especially to a law firm on a contingency fee basis.”

Methenitis thinks it “unlikely” that we will see fewer lawsuits as time progresses, but tells us not to worry too much about game industry companies that are targeted, as they “have substantial legal teams to deal with these kinds of suits.”

He finishes:

What should concern consumers would be a series of victories against gaming companies. If plaintiffs are successful, then there are two potentially larger problems facing the industry: are companies becoming more dishonest and predatory, and should we be concerned about the continued viability of those studios with substantial legal settlements against them?

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  1. 0
    sharpshooterbabe says:

    At least there is good legal teams that can go against idiots that want to sue like crazy. :)



    "It’s better to be hated for who you are, then be loved for who you are not." – Montgomery Gentry

  2. 0
    Ratros says:

    Many products have a manufactuers warranty on them for a reason, and it is not uncommon for them to be taken to court for lemons that they will not refund the buyer for (Barring as is sales). 

    Also when a subscription is cancled by an individual or a company, it is only right that they get the money they invested into it back. 

    This is not thinking that the world owes you, this is getting what you spent your hard earned money on.  There is a difference between the two.

    I once had a dream about God. In it, he was looking down upon the planet and the havoc we recked and he said unto us, "Damn Kids get off my lawn!"

  3. 0
    JDKJ says:

    In some respects, at least in a legal sense, it does owe them something. For example, you’ve the right to purchase a product free from manufacturing defects and a right to recourse and remedy against the manufacturer if they in fact sell you a defective product. That the product is intended to provide entertainment doesn’t in any way diminish your entitlements.

  4. 0
    Zerodash says:

    The thing about many of these suits, boycotts, or threats against game companies is that they are tinged with a sense of entitlement in regards to an entertainment product.  Too many people think the world "owes" them something.

  5. 0
    JDKJ says:

    [S]hould we be concerned about the continued viability of those studios with substantial legal settlements against them?

    Hell, no. That’s just the price they have to pay for being on the wrong side of a lawsuit.

    And I don’t know of too many plaintiffs who strike it rich from being members of a class action. One of the determinative factors in certifying a class of plaintiffs is that their individual claims are too piddly to make much economic sense in requiring that they bring them on an individual basis and therefore they need to pool their injuries into a class. The attorney for the class may make bank, but the individual class members usually don’t end up with much to show for being a class action plaintiff. If they’re making a profession out of it, then they usually ain’t getting paid much better than minimum wage. And that’s before they have to fork over the 30-40% contingency fee to their attorney. 

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