Huge Lawsuit Filed by Infinity Ward Employee Group

A group of 38 employees from Infinity Ward have recently filed a lawsuit against Activision in an effort to acquire over fifty million dollars in compensatory damages. G4TV acquired a copy of the lawsuit and has filled us in on all of the important details.

The lawsuit alleges that Activision breached contract with Infinity Ward, and refused to deliver on bonuses and royalties associated with the delivery of Modern Warfare 2. In addition, the lawsuit states that Activision knowingly withheld these bonuses in an effort to force Infinity Ward developers to stay with the company and further develop Modern Warfare 3. In total, the Infinity Ward Employee Group wants between $75 million and $125 million in compensatory damages for unpaid wages and bonuses, and an additional amount between $75 million and $500 million as an award for punitive damages.

Here's G4TV's list of the details surrounding the first portion of the lawsuit:

  • Unpaid bonuses from 2009 and 2010 sales generated by Modern Warfare 2 -- fourth quarter 2009 and first quarter 2010, specifically.
  • Bonuses "due and owing to them" past first quarter 2010.
  • "Bonus/royalty/profit participation" related to "technology/engine" royalties, "other special performance bonuses," "other studio bonuses" or "any other bonus/royalty/profit participation."'
  • Lost value on "restricted stock units" that Activision "promised" would vest (read: own it in your own name and purchase it from Activision) when Modern Warfare 2 sales eclipsed Modern Warfare 1, which "has long ago occurred."
  • Money owed as it relates to Modern Warfare 2 "sister games, including but not limited to" the oft-mentioned Modern Warfare 3, "if Modern Warfare 3 is ultimately delivered and marketed."
  • Interest rates related to the above sums of money.

And secondly, here are some quotations from the lawsuit about the punitive damages:

"[Activision] improperly withheld this specifically identifiable sum of money from the members of IWEG in order to force them to keep working for Activision so that Activision could receive delivery of Modern Warfare 3. [Activision] made a calculated, purposeful and malicious decision" to withhold proper bonuses "in an attempt to force employees of Infinity Ward to continue to work at a job that many of them did not want just so Activision could force them to complete the development, production and delivery of Modern Warfare 3.

In short, Activision withheld the property of the IWEG in an attempt to keep the employees hostage so that Activision could reap the benefit of the completion of Modern Warfare 3. At least in the additional amount of $75 million to $500 million [should be given] as an award for punitive damages"

With the sheer amount of employees leaving Infinity Ward, whether they're migrating to Respawn or to various other establishments, it was only a matter of time before a lawsuit like this cropped up.  The question is, is Infinity Ward inflating the amount they should receive for the bonuses, or is Activision withholding the money? When you have such an amazingly popular, and profitable, product like Modern Warfare 2 it's difficult to distinguish the truth from the greed-driven lies.

Time will tell, but I honestly hope the developers who put their heart and soul into the game receive everything they have earned.

I can imagine it'd be difficult to take a step back and look at this situation without judgment, but what's your view of the situation, Ranters? Where's the line between what's fair and what's greedy?

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