A California Superior Court Judge ruled against Electronic Arts yesterday, denying their bid to dismiss the $400 million lawsuit brought against the company by Activision over claims that EA broke the law when they talked with Infinity Ward co-founders Jason West and Vincent Zampella while they were still under contract with Activision.
Judge Elihu Berle stated that Activision had proved the court with sufficient evidence to support their claims and that a jury should be allowed to determine if EA broke the law. EA argued that no wrong was done and that West and Zampella were within their rights to “explore future employment opportunities”.
Full press release below:
California Superior Court Finds Activision Publishing May Proceed With Jury Trial In Suit Against Electronic Arts
Motions Filed for Summary Judgment by Electronic Arts, Former Employees West and Zampella Denied
SANTA MONICA, Calif., Dec. 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Activision Publishing, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI), announced that the Los Angeles Superior Court has denied a motion brought by Electronic Arts, Inc. (EA) for summary judgment, thereby permitting Activision to proceed to trial on its $400 million contract-interference suit against EA.. At a hearing held yesterday, December 21, 2012, Judge Elihu Berle denied EA’s motion, finding that the evidence presented by Activision supplied a basis for a jury to potentially conclude both that EA had intentionally interfered with Activision’s employment agreements with former Call of Duty game developers, Jason West and Vince Zampella, and that EA had aided and abetted West and Zampella’s breach of fiduciary duties to Activision. A related summary judgment motion put forth by West and Zampella was also denied.
In the suit Activision alleges that West and Zampella breached their contracts and duty of loyalty to Activision by conduct that was insubordinate and otherwise improper and that West and Zampella’s misconduct was caused, at least in part, by EA’s unlawful tampering. A jury trial in the case is scheduled to begin on May 7, 2012.