Judge gives West/Zampella case against Activision the go-ahead

Kotick and company to defend royalty payments, MW brand in court

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An LA judge has ruled that Jason West and Vincent Zampella – ousted Infinity Ward heads and protagonists in a saga involving allegations of corporate espionage – have a valid case against their former employer, Activision. Following the March ruling that Activision had a relevant case against Electronic Arts, the case now looks set to proceed in the coming months.

West and Zampella allege they were told by Bobby Kotick while working for Activision, “Don't worry about it. It's impossible for you guys to get fired.” However, they say Activision dismissed them before they could collect over $125 million in royalty payments. The pair also claim that Activision promised them a share of control in the Modern Warfare brand, which they now seek to regain in court. California Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle's ruling means these charges, if not settled privately, will be publicly aired in a case likely to go to trial by early next year.

Above: Insert your own caption here involving the words “taking aim,” “heating up” or “led into a back-alley and shot in the head”

Berle's March ruling, which stated that Activision had a relevant case of “tortious interference, unfair competition, and breaches of fiduciary duty” against West/Zampella and EA, still holds. Preparation for the legal showdown builds, even as Activision and EA hype Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3 respectively – and West/Zampella's Respawn Entertainment work on their still-unnamed “sci-fi shooter” under EA's patronage. Excited? Bored shitless? Gave up somewhere around “tortious interference”?

Jun 20, 2011