And now the lawsuits…

by Ted Frank on July 27, 2005

As we predicted on July 16, the ridiculous lawsuits over the Grand Theft Auto video game “scandal” have begun. The lead plaintiff in the putative class action is an 85-year-old grandmother, Florence Cohen, who bought the game for her 14-year-old grandson, who may have his own claims for emotional distress when his ninth-grade classmates beat him up. I suspect the eventual lead-plaintiff deposition I imagined is likely to be more entertaining than the game itself.

“Laurence D. Paskowitz, the lawyer who filed the lawsuit on behalf of Cohen, said no parent would knowingly buy an adult-only video game for their children.” Because a “M-for-Mature” 17-or-over game featuring graphic violence, profanity, and “strong sexual content” is so much more appropriate. The sex scenes that are the subject of the lawsuit are only available by taking affirmative steps to download a modification from the Internet and install it: if her 14-year-old grandson has that much freedom with a computer to be able to experience the pixeled sex (an allegation that is missing from press accounts), what else is he downloading?

The Class Action Fairness Act is already paying dividends; the case was filed in federal court, which increases the likelihood that federal judges will correctly decide that class certification is inappropriate. (AP, “Grandmother sues maker of ‘Grand Theft Auto’”, Jul. 27; hat-tip to W.F. and A.B.). Update: Jul. 28.