$5 to Consumers, $1M to the Lawyers
Shocked ... shocked they were when the violent, shoot-em-up video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was found in 2005 to contain a hidden minigame that simulated sexual intercourse. The minigame, accessible through what has come to be called the Hot Coffee mod, had the game's main character scoring points -- literally and figuratively -- with various girlfriends.
Enter the lawyers. In 2005, a class action was filed in federal court in New York against the game's maker, Rockstar Games Inc., and its parent company Take-Two Interactive Software. Among the plaintiffs were an 85-year-old New York grandmother who bought the game for her 14-year-old grandson and parents in various states who bought the game for their teenage sons. The plaintiffs claimed that the game's sellers had defrauded them and violated consumer fraud statutes.
In January, the parties announced a proposed settlement of the class action. If approved, the settlement would provide benefits to purchasers based on the evidence they can provide. Those who still have the original game get a replacement disk, sans sex scenes. If they still have the store receipt, they can also be paid cash up to $35. Those who have the disk and other proof of purchase, such as a credit statement, can receive up to $17.50. Those who have the disk but no proof of purchase can submit an affidavit of purchase and be paid $10. All others receive $5.
What about paying the lawyers? As for them, the settlement provides payment of $1 million -- $45,000 to cover costs and disbursements and $955,000 for attorneys' fees. This is "a highly reasonable request and well within the range previously approved by this and other courts," says the motion seeking approval of the settlement. But that's not to say the parties arrived at the amount easily. In fact, says the motion, it was "the very last piece" of the settlement they agreed on. Much more documentation is available at the settlement Web site.
Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on February 1, 2008 at 12:06 PM | Permalink
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