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Former GTA producer suffers setback in $150m lawsuit against Take Two

Court finds profit sharing agreement unambiguous, but Benzies could still be compensated

Former Grand Theft Auto producer Leslie Benzies has been hit by a significant setback in his $150 million lawsuit against publisher Take Two.

New York Supreme Court has ruled that a profit sharing agreement Benzies signed - the hook on which the entire case hangs - was unambiguous and did not entitle him to the amount he believed.

The agreement was signed in 2009 when Benzies was made a Rockstar Principal in recognition of his work on the series.

Seven years later Benzies filed the lawsuit, claiming he was forced out of the company after taking a 17 month sabbatical following the launch of GTA V.

The filing argued Rockstar co-founders Sam and Dan Houser were being given more money from the profit-sharing scheme at Benzies' expense.

However, the court ruled that the profit-sharing scheme provides for "discretionary royalty payments" and "contains no language mandating equal payments to the principals."

Benzies' case is not dead in the water just yet though. The court also ruled that he "remains entitled to receive certain royalties" as part of his compensation.

Additionally, the complaint sufficiently argues a breach in the 2012 Employment Agreement based on salary and stock allegedly withheld from the plaintiff.

Given that GTA V is now the "most financially successful media title of all time", with sales revenues in excess of $6 billion, any amount of compensation is likely to be significant.

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Ivy Taylor avatar

Ivy Taylor

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Ivy joined GamesIndustry.biz in 2017 having previously worked as a regional journalist, and a political campaigns manager before that. They are also one of the UK's foremost Sonic the Hedgehog apologists.