Judge Denies EA’s Request To Throw Out $400m Activision Lawsuit

The legal action involving Activision, EA and former Infinity Ward studio heads Jason West and Vince Zampella, looks set to come to its conclusion next year. This follows a decision by a US judge to deny EA’s request to throw out Activision’s $400m case and that Activision had presented sufficient evidence to uphold its claim, which will now be heard before a court on 7th May 2012.

Eurogamer reports; “Activision is alleging that West and Zampella breached their contracts and duty of loyalty to the publisher by conduct that was “insubordinate and otherwise improper”, adding that the pair’s actions were caused, at least in part, by EA’s “unlawful tampering”.


We first reported on Activision’s counter-suit a year ago, which seems to allege that West and Zampella, backed by EA carried, out some rather underhand activities during the later period of their employment and particularly during Treyarch’s promotion of CoD: Black Ops. West and Zampella were subsequently dismissed from Infinity Ward and went on to claim wrongful dismissal and missing payments from Activision, and set up Respawn Studios, securing a publishing deal with EA. To date, their new studio seems to specialise in very poor quality imagery.



  1. Will be interesting to see how this goes, was slightly strange how quick EA and Respawn announced the publishing deal, and then how EA have tried to get it thrown out shows to me there is something they want to keep private.

  2. Impressive that Activision have found enough evidence to make this stick in court. There must have been more evidence than West and Zampella saying that they “didnt get on with Treyarch” etc, to the press, for the judge to take it seriously.
    EA tapping them up and getting them to cause a rift within Infinity Ward is pretty underhanded though.

  3. Well, if all their proof is as blurred (next generations bloom anyone?) as the game they’re working on then I can see why. But this case has been going on for too long, I thought they had wrapped it up already.

  4. I didn’t read that EA tried to get it thrown out, i read that West+Zampella and EA wanted a judge to decide the case without going to trial..

    • In the US “summary judgement” means “Judge, rule that there is nothing to this case that warrants going to trial. Throw it out on its ass.”


      “In American legal practice summary judgment can be awarded by the court prior to trial, effectively holding that no trial will be necessary.”

      No trial in such a case means no case at all. There’s no way a judge can rule in favour of one party for $400 million without it going to trial. That would be madness.

      So, EA’s summary judgement call was a play to get the whole thing thrown out on lack of evidence. It looks like the judge took a look at the evidence presented and ruled that “well, something is here, enough for a jury to make up their mind who’s right and who’s wrong.”

      • Fair enough, i’ll bow to your superior knowledge of this legel stuff! :)
        Anyway, i’m rooting for west and zampella so i’m glad it’s going ahead.

      • Seemingly Activision have presented enough evidence to the judicial system that the judicial system have found in there favour & decided that Activision have ‘more than’ a point

      • Never mind the evidence (or poor quality image teasers), from the Respawn website the “main cast” clearly look like complete d!cks would would sell their own mother to each a minuscule degree of notoriety/fame.

        That said, innocent until proven guilty.

      • *earn, sorry.

  5. This is getting very interesting because now this heading to a jury trail. While I’m sure EA was talking to both… and plotting to form respawn, its still going to be incredibly difficult for activision to prove they intentionally damaged the CoD brand. Each CoD game since MW2 has out performed the last. In order for activision to recover $400 million in damages they’re going to have to prove that they lost $400 million in sales. Plus its a jury trail and I’m sure EA lawyers will be looking for activision “haters” to fill the jury, but activision lawyers will be looking for EA “haters” so I guess that’ll even out. Still though I can’t see acti getting anything from this except an injunction preventing respawns new IP. That’s probably why activision is letting this case drag out and why respawn hasn’t announced their game, because they moment they do activision will get an injunction saying that they where still under contract while this game was conceptualized and therefore property of activision.

    • Interesting take

      Yes, as each game has outperformed the last, proving harm is going to be difficult

      Unless they can prove that having Sledgehammer working on this instead of releasing their own CoD game (3rd person action spinoff or straight-up FutureWarfare FPS) and it has cost them that way

  6. As this will happen in USA and is geting jury status then this will all be front of camers. Lets see if G4 or IGN will cover it, it would be sweet if there was a live stream somewhere on justin tv or ustream.

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