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West and Zampella lawsuit on course for jury trial

Judge rules that allegations have merit as Bobby Kotick faces day in court

The lawsuit filed by former Infinity Ward execs Jason West and Vince Zampella has taken a further step towards a jury trial, as the judge in the case ruled that there were facts to support the allegations.

The $34 million lawsuit was first filed in March 2010, following the pair's dismissal as studio heads at Infinity Ward. Originally it was only concerned with "breach of contracts" over the sacking, but in April 2011 fraud allegations were also added to the list of complaints.

The fraud claims centre on a new contract introduced by Activision after the completion of Call of Duty 4, which promised West and Zampella creative control over future Modern Warfare games (but not necessarily all Call of Duty titles) and an increased budget.

West and Zampella claim that Activision had no intention of following through on these promises and always intended to fire them after the completion of the game.

The ruling by California Superior Court judge Elihu Berle means that it is increasingly likely that these charges will have to be answered in court, with Activision CEO Bobby Kotick potentially being called as a witness.

"That can't be good for Activision. They can't be happy about this," said attorney Robert Schwartz in comments to USA Today.

A trial has still not been confirmed though and may not take place until early next year.

Activision has filed its own $400 million lawsuit against the duo and Electronic Arts. Activision claim that EA, which helped the pair found new studio Respawn Entertainment, encouraged West and Zampella to "hijack" company assets.

The Activision case has already been ruled as having sufficient evidence and is continuing separately.

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Latest comments (13)

Aleksi Ranta Product Manager - Hardware 5 years ago
I hope they use good old Matlock as a defence lawyer!
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Alan Wilson Vice President, Tripwire Interactive5 years ago
Why not just make it into an LA Noire-style game :) ? Both parties have cases that have been ruled as worthy of a trial... should be a great spectator sport!
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John Donnelly Quality Assurance 5 years ago
The only question I have is..

Salted or butter popcorn?
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Show all comments (13)
Bob Rice composer 5 years ago
If you can fake sincerity you've got it made in Hollywood.
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Graham Simpson Tea boy, Collins Stewart5 years ago
I predict a settlement out of court and the files sealed.
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Doug Kennedy President, Reverb Communications5 years ago
As a person who was "sued" by Activision I can say that they like to throw around the claim of "hijacking of assets." This is typical Activision, they lure you in with honey then take the legal route to either not pay you or file a suit to recapture any money that has been paid.

I do agree that with this latest news it would serve Activision well to settle. I just hope for Activisionís sake they have a law firm better than Jones-Day working with them, they really botched the case against me -
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Andrew Harris Game Monetization Manager, GameLoft5 years ago
Enjoy the American judicial circus! Where corporate lawsuits serve as publicity stunts, integrity be damned!
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Jared Mallia5 years ago
Death to Activision!
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John Donnelly Quality Assurance 5 years ago
Jared.

Really really not a good idea to post such statments on a site like this.
You dont have to like the company but they employ a large number of people directly and work with a large number of studios and comanies on various projects.

If you want to work in the game industry you should be careful what comments you make on industry websites as you never know who might see them and how it could impact you in the future.
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Jaakko Heinonen Student - Computer Science 5 years ago
I agree with Mr. Donnelly. It also works if the posts you make can not be tracked back to you.
But yeah, one should watch what one says on the internet.
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Its a fine line between voicing opinion, sentiment vs inflammatory spur of the moment comments.
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Graham Simpson Tea boy, Collins Stewart5 years ago
Last time I looked Gamesindustry.biz was an industry resource. If they are going to continue to allow this sort of trolling and stupid juvenile comments then I guess they are not serious and I'll go elsewhere.
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Jack Molloy Studying BTEC Level 3 Art and Media In Games Developemt, Derby College5 years ago
Not takin any sides in the Arguement but from i can understand Activision are just doing what the company was intented to be used for, making money, and Call of Duty is there soul source of finnace and i am sure they would do what ever they could to defend it.
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