Class Action Suit Brought Against EA over Retired Players in Madden

August 3, 2010 -

In litigation very similar to one brought previously by NFL Hall of Fame member Jim Brown, another ex-professional football player has filed a lawsuit against Electronic Arts, alleging that the game maker used the likenesses of retired NFL players illegally in its Madden NFL series of videogames.

The new suit, filed by Michael E. Davis (pictured in his playing days), aka Tony Davis, was filed in the United States District Court of the Northern District of California on July 29, and is of the class action variety, seeking damages on behalf of the “approximately 6,000 retired NFL players whose likenesses were included in the ‘historic teams’ in all versions and editions of Madden” sold between July 29, 2008 and the present.

Davis, who now resides in Colorado, played six seasons in the NFL as a running back and kick returner, spending three seasons apiece with the Cincinnati Bengals (1976-1978) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1979-1981). The lawsuit claims EA’s use of the likenesses of retired players in its games violates Davis’ statutory and common law rights of publicity under California law, in addition to being unlawful and/or wrongful, causing EA to “be unjustly enriched.”

The lawsuit also called EA’s “commercial exploitation” of retired NFL players both “blatant and prolific.”

Davis notes that in 1979, when he played with the Bucs in his fourth year, he was 26 years old, 5’11” in height, weighed 215 pounds and wore number 27. In Madden 09, Davis claims that a halfback for the 1979 Tampa Bay team appeared, with the same age, height, weight and pro experience—the only difference being the virtual player’s number (#37). Davis claims that despite the “scrambled” jersey numbers of retired players in the games, consumers “will have no difficulty identifying who the ‘historic’ players are.”

Excluded from the class action suit are ex-NFL participants whose “virtual players’ height is not within two inches of the player’s roster height, and the virtual player’s weight is not within 10% of the player’s roster weight.”

The suit seeks actual damages, statutory damages and punitive damages for every member of the class, in addition to the “disgorgement of all profits attributable to the use of Class Members’ likenesses earned by EA.”

Grab a copy of the complaint here (PDF).

Bonus: watch Davis score the only receiving touchdown of his NFL career here (WMV).


Comments

Re: Class Action Suit Brought Against EA over Retired ...

He should have filed this lawsuit BEFORE the last one was awarded in EA's favor.  Now, EA has legal precedent.

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Andrew EisenSarkeesian and Quinn continue to get harassed and attacked (with the majority of said harassment and attacks being about their gender) and so, the story stays in the headlines. If Wolfe gets swatted again, it will be in the news again.09/19/2014 - 6:56pm
Andrew EisenYou mean Wesley Wolfe? The swatting appeared to be over his DMCA takedown, not due to his color or gender.09/19/2014 - 6:53pm
ConsterSo Sleaker, what's the sand like?09/19/2014 - 6:53pm
quiknkold@CraigR. Spreading Misandry is not going to kill Misogyny. Its just going to fuel it. half the people supporting that arguement are mysoginists themselves. They just dont know it.09/19/2014 - 6:51pm
Sleaker@CraigR - there's nothing to get over. There's no issue here until someone does an actual study on harassment rates.09/19/2014 - 6:48pm
quiknkoldWe never said Gamers were the only victims. Yes, Anita and Zoe got a bad rap. Yes, Zoe's ex was way out of line. Do I disagree with them? Depends on the arguement. Did they deserve what happened to them? Hell Effing No.09/19/2014 - 6:48pm
Sleakerbut news outlets have a tendency to blow up and sensationalize it if the person can be desrcibed as a minority, maybe because it gets the hits. How long were the 2 recent swattings in the news for? 1 was a white male developer....09/19/2014 - 6:47pm
Craig R.Get over it.09/19/2014 - 6:46pm
Craig R.Gamers are just lucky that their behavior wasn't brought to attention of everybody else sooner, and gamers are pissy about that09/19/2014 - 6:46pm
SleakerIn fact, just because a few female developers every year get harassed doesn't make it systematic. As a whole developers are harassed by people.. Swatted, etc.09/19/2014 - 6:46pm
Craig R.And if you don't think misogyny and sexism is widespread, then you're living with your head buried in the sand09/19/2014 - 6:45pm
Craig R.Apparently it's the gamers who are the only victims from GamerGate09/19/2014 - 6:44pm
Sleaker@AE - 1 person getting harassed is a problem. But just because 1 person gets harassed for being a female developer doesn't mean it's a systematic problem or indicative of a whole demographic.09/19/2014 - 6:44pm
Andrew EisenI don't believe anyone said or even remotely implied that harassing anyone was okay.09/19/2014 - 6:41pm
quiknkoldGeneral are being harassed, doxxed, hacked, just because they are being perceived as white males. And what about the White Males who are victims. Its ok to harass them? Anita Sarkeesian gets a bomb threat yeah, but what about the others.09/19/2014 - 6:36pm
quiknkoldwhat about all the gamers who are being harrassed, Andrew. Why does it have to be just about the women in the industry. We have 2 women, and only a handful of accounts recorded. While you could throw a dart at the internet and find a site where Gamers in09/19/2014 - 6:35pm
Andrew EisenOkay, you're talking specifically about harassment of women in the industry. So... how many (or what percentage of) women have to be harassed before you'd consider it a problem?09/19/2014 - 6:27pm
SleakerSo I think at best, we can just say something akin to 'there might be a problem, but we need more reliable information'09/19/2014 - 6:11pm
SleakerBut that takes someone actually doing a legitimate study on females in game development workplaces etc. And so far a good number of studies that get shoved into the center of attention are sensationalized through shoddy metrics and practices.09/19/2014 - 6:10pm
Sleaker@AE - I think there are select instances of gender problems that are highlighted, but I don't believe they are the norm, or 'widespread.' What would be more helpful is to show hard statistics. 1 in 100 female developers is harassed or somthing like this.09/19/2014 - 6:10pm
 

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