A five judge panel in New York State dismisses the lawsuits filed against Grand Theft Auto 5 and Rockstar Games by celebrities Lindsay Lohan and Karen Gravano.
In 2014, Lindsay Lohan filed a lawsuit against Rockstar Games, alleging that the company’s hit game, Grand Theft Auto V, used her image without her permission in both the game as well as its promotional material. Two years later, a five judge panel has decided to toss out Lohan’s lawsuit, stating that it is without merit.
Lindsay Lohan’s lawsuit against Grand Theft Auto V claimed that the scandalous character Lacey Jonas was based on her. She also pointed to the blonde woman in the red bikini making a “peace” sign in Grand Theft Auto V‘s promotional material as ripping off a photo of Lindsay with a similar pose and attire.
Lohan’s lawsuit wasn’t the only one levied against Grand Theft Auto V that was dismissed in court today. Karen Gravano of Mob Wives fame was suing Rockstar Games for the same reason as Lohan, stating that Grand Theft Auto V stole her likeness. Gravano believed the character Andrea Bottino not only possessed her likeness, but also that Bottino’s story arc in Grand Theft Auto V mimicked events Gravano’s own life. Ultimately, the judges ruled that the lawsuits presented by both Lohan and Gravano were without merit because Grand Theft Auto V is a satirical work of fiction, meaning it’s protected under the first amendment.
The developers at Rockstar Games are likely glad to be rid of two legal issues that have plagued the company for the last couple of years, but even with the dismissal of the Lohan and Gravano lawsuits, it’s not out of the woods just yet.
In fact, Rockstar is currently dealing with a lawsuit from someone that used to work at the company. Former Rockstar Games developer Leslie Benzies, who played an instrumental role in the development of some of the company’s biggest titles, is suing the company to the tune of $150 million. Now that Rockstar’s legal team is done focusing on the comparatively frivolous lawsuits put forward by Lohan and Gravano (Take-Two went as far as to call Lohan’s lawsuit a publicity stunt), it can now give more attention to the Leslie Benzies case.
Any company that is consistently in the public eye runs the risk of being targeted by lawsuits, and these won’t be the last Rockstar Games faces. Due to the controversial nature of its games alone, the company will likely have many more legal proceedings on its hands in the future. However, if Grand Theft Auto keeps selling as well as it does, Rockstar will undoubtedly have plenty of money to hire the best lawyers available.
Grand Theft Auto V is available now for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.