A California Superior Court judge has told EA that it must defend itself in the $400 million contract-interference suit brought by Activision over Infinity Ward founders Jason West and Vince Zampella.
The court agreed with Activision that there was enough evidence to move forward on the case. Activision alleged that the Battlefield publisher had illegally attempted to lure away Call of Duty creators West and Zampella. Judge Elihu Berle said that a sufficient amount evidence had been provided by Activision. Enough at least so that a jury should decide whether EA broke the law by talking to West and Zampella while they were still under contract.
“We’re pleased with the ruling and look forward to proving our case at trial,” Activision lawyer Steven Marenberg told Bloomberg.
EA was added to Activision’s complaint late last year, which expanded a legal battle with West and Zampella that was filed in March 2010, when the former Infinity Ward bosses sued the company for alleged unfair dismissal. The pair claimed their contracts were terminated just a few weeks before substantial Modern Warfare 2 royalty payments were due to be made. Some 38 current and former Infinity Ward employees also sued Activision last year over alleged unpaid bonuses and royalties for Modern Warfare 2. That complain has been consolidated with West and Zampella’s case against Activision.
Activision counter-sued the duo, arguing that they had been secretly talking to EA about a deal through a high profile Hollywood talent agency that specialized in the video game industry. The pair formed studio Respawn Entertainment and agreed a publishing deal with EA. Since then, Respawn has begun releasing teaser images to a new game.