Activision is suing Electronic Arts, adding the company to an existing lawsuit against former Infinity Ward co-founders. The amendment to the lawsuit filed in court this week claims that EA induced Jason West and Vince Zampella to break their contracts with Activision during the development of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. This, the company says, was done so that the duo would be free to establish its new studio, Respawn, and sign with the EA Partners program.
According to the filing obtained by GameSpot, "starting as early as July 30, 2009, Electronic Arts and [West and Zampella]–with full knowledge that the executives were under contract and legally committed to Activision for more than two additional years–conspired to set up an independent company."
"The unlawful conduct came from the highest levels at Electronic Arts, including EA Chief Executive Officer, John Riccitiello, and Chief Operating Officer, John Schappert, with direct support from the high profile talent agency, Creative Artists Agency, and even a former member of Activision’s Board of Directors and former Activision lawyer."
The suit also named Harold Brown, a former board member of Activision and attorney who represented West and Zampella. The suit notes that Brown "had prior knowledge of Activision’s incentive practices and suggests talent firm Creative Arts brought him in to cloak negotiations with EA under an attorney-client privilege. The only direct tie between Brown and EA was that the he was a "law school classmate of an EA executive."
The cross-complaint seeks $400 million in actual and punitive damages from EA, West, and Zampella, "including profits Activision would have made but for EA’s interference, costs incurred in rebuilding the affected studio, and damages suffered as a result of delays and disruptions." Activision also hopes "to recapture compensation" given to the duo, and to unseal a number of documents that have been "deemed confidential."