New legal counsel takes over class action lawsuit against Riot Games
Update: Riot responds, adding that it will defend itself from "false narratives and unfair claims"
Original story, February 21, 2020: Representatives of a class action lawsuit against Riot Games have hired new legal counsel and withdrawn their motion for a $10 million settlement.
The move comes after it was revealed last month that the 1,000 class members may actually be entitled to $400 million.
Two California state agencies suggested the on-going gender discrimination lawsuit against Riot Games had been mishandled by the plantiffs' legal representation, Rosen & Saba.
Together, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) and Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) made a case against the settlement, finding issue with the final figure of $10 million and suggesting that Riot Games had colluded with Rosen & Saba.
A judge was scheduled to rule on the validity of this intervention earlier this month, but the hearing has been pushed back to an unconfirmed date.
Despite this, class action representatives Melanie McCracken, Jessica Negron, and Gabriela Downie have found new legal counsel with women's rights attorney Genie Harrison.
Harrison, who is known for bringing cases against the Weinstein Company in the wake of #MeToo, is joined by plaintiffs' employment lawyer Joseph Lovretovich.
Harrison and Lovretovich are now seeking expert analysis on the alleged discrimination to find an appropriate settlement figure.
"These brave women spoke out against gender inequality and sexism, and I want to make sure they are fairly compensated," says Harrison.
"Our well-qualified statisticians are already analysing pay data. We intend to recover the compensation due to the women of Riot Games and achieve institutional reform, in order to level the playing field for women."
Following the DFEH and DLSE intervention, a Riot Games spokesperson described the $400 million figure as "clickbait."
Update, February 24, 2020: In a statement responding to the news, a Riot Games spokesperson told GamesIndustry.biz the League of Legends developer was committed to finding a fair outcome for all parties, one that is "justified by the underlying facts."
"We understand that the plaintiffs' new counsel needs adequate time to review the proposed settlement agreement and we respect that," said the spokesperson.
"That said, the analysis and discussions which led to the earlier proposed settlement were comprehensive and thorough, and we believe that the proposal was fair and adequate under the circumstances."
Riot also described the $400 million figure proposed by the DFEH as "outrageous," and said that any arguments put forward in favour of sum "can simply not be made in good faith."
"While we have acknowledged that there is work that we needed to do to better live up to our values, we have also made clear to our employees that we will defend ourselves against false narratives and unfair claims that do nothing to remedy any hardships of actual class members," they added.