Grand Theft Auto: Class Action – in NY Times

The hearing is in a New York City courtroom this morning, and the NY Times is there, complete with a photo of me.

But the legal fees have drawn an objection, from a game-player who just happens to be a lawyer as well. Seeking to scuttle the deal is Theodore H. Frank, who directs the Legal Center for the Public Interest at the American Enterprise Institute, where he writes about class actions, liability and other topics.

“There are two possibilities,” Mr. Frank said of the settlement. “Possibility one is they have a meritorious lawsuit and they’re selling out the class for attorneys’ fees. The other possibility is that, and frankly I think this is the more likely possibility, they brought a meritless lawsuit that had no business being brought to court at all.”

(Jonathan Glater, “Hidden Sex Scenes Draw Ho-Hum, Except From Lawyers”, NY Times, Jun. 25).  The story will be no surprise to anyone who has been reading Overlawyered: there’s the imbalance between the $26,505 the class got and the $1 million the attorneys are seeking; there’s a marvelous extended quote from the Stanhouse deposition that shows the absurdity of the plaintiffs’ claims.  And if you’re interested in why Mr. Lesser’s arguments don’t rationalize his settlement (or preclude me from objecting), see my brief.  Other coverage: Kotaku (and don’t miss some great comments); CrunchGear; Gaming Today; lots of others.


  • Excellent, excellent! [/me stays glued to his monitor for the next thrilling episode]

  • Besides, the lawyers argue, if the lawsuit had no merit, should that not make the settlement that much more impressive?

    Yes. Impressive for the chutzpah to admit the suit was without merit to begin with or that they have blackmailed a company to leave them alone.

    On a different note the accompanying photo of Ted is excellent and very reflective of his excellent legal research and analysis. AND provides clear evidence that he merits a corner office.

  • Ted, no wonder why you have so much time for a blog. You only have 7 items on your whiteboard!

  • Yes! Keep it coming! I hadn’t had time to read that depo excerpt before, thanks for the backwards pointer. Very entertaining.

  • So what happened at the hearing?


    Six teens inspired by the notoriously violent video game “Grand Theft Auto” were in court Thursday on robbery charges after a crime spree that began with a late-night mugging outside a New Hyde Park supermarket, police said.

    Mugging, crowbar smashing hooligans arrests apparently had no connection to Grand Theft Auto “porn”, and was just living out the violent parts of the game. The public is so much safer because these teens were not home watching cartoon sex, but were out getting some good exorcise.

  • My whiteboard is up to 21 items…

  • […] By popular demand, here is my first-hand account of arguing at yesterday’s Grand Theft Auto fairness hearing: […]

  • One of my favorite games and I would never so something like it in real life. That’s why I like it so much. Fantasy.

    You rock the casbah.