Posts Tagged ‘Grand Theft Auto’

The retreat of Grand Theft Auto: Class Action

The case that started me on the path to founding the Center for Class Action Fairness is now over: plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their appeal last week after voluntarily dismissing the court case February 22, giving up any shot at the $1 million in attorneys’ fees they had negotiated for themselves.

And if you’re on Facebook, do become a fan of the Center for Class Action Fairness so you can keep up with us and others can learn about it.

Latest issue of Class Action Watch

The latest issue of the Federalist Society’s Class Action Watch has many articles of interest to Overlawyered readers:

  • William E. Thomson & Kahn A. Scolnick on the Exxon Shipping case;
  • Jimmy Cline on Arkansas’s disregard for class action certification standards;
  • Jim Copland on the “Colossus” class action;
  • Laurel Harbour on the New Jersey Supreme Court decision on medical monitoring class actions;
  • Lyle Roberts on lead-counsel selection in securities class actions;
  • Mark A. Behrens & Frank Cruz-Alvarez on the lead paint public nuisance decision by the Rhode Island Supreme Court; and
  • Andrew Grossman, extensively citing to Overlawyered and my brief in discussing the Grand Theft Auto class action settlement rejection.

Grand Theft Auto: Class Action – The Frank Brief

Full proof that I don’t think all pro se representation is a bad thing: Following up our previous discussion of the GTA class action settlement and my objection: This morning, Friday, June 6, I filed this brief (which unlike the previous brief, I wrote myself), in opposition to the plaintiffs’ motions for court approval of the settlement and attorneys’ fees, in the Southern District of New York and served it upon counsel. With luck, I didn’t file the wrong brief.

Read On…

Grand Theft Auto: Class Action Settlement – $26,505 for the unrepresented class, $1 million fee request

We now know how many people signed up for the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas class action settlement out of the millions of members in the purported class.

Tier 1 (up to $35.00) (no exchange required): 416
Tier 2 (up to $17.50) (exchange required): 22
Tier 3 ($10.00) (exchange required): 131
Tier 4 ($5.00) (no exchange required): 2,050
Disc Exchange w/o cash: 57

2676 total claimants, receiving a total cash value of at most $26,505, though likely even less than that, given that the plaintiffs’ attorneys record no actual cash distribution.

The seven “representative” class members are asking for approval to receive another $24,500, or nearly half of the total cash recovery.

Of course, as we’ve discussed, none of these people had a legitimate cause of action or suffered any legally cognizable injury. But how much are the plaintiffs’ attorneys (from thirteen different offices of twelve different law firms!) asking for for this travesty of a lawsuit and settlement–one that was entirely redundant of the taxpayer-funded investigation conducted by the Los Angeles district attorney? They claim their time devoted to the litigation was worth $1,317,433, but are “generously” claiming a 28% discount for a total fees-and-costs request of $1 million.

Recognizing that this 3774% contingent fee looks fishy to the least scrutinizing of judges applying Rule 23 review, the plaintiffs have sought to inflate the appearance of accomplishment through a $870,000 cy pres award to the National PTA and ESRB. (As I’ve discussed, cy pres awards that do not directly benefit class members should not be used to justify fee awards.) They also inflate the award by claiming that the costs of notice, administration and disk replacement should be attributed to the size of the accomplished result, thus puffing matters up to over $2 million, consisting nearly entirely of empty calories for the plaintiffs they purport to be representing.

Alas, I was the only class member to docket a formal objection to this rip-off. (While it was my idea to object, I can take no credit for the objection brief, which was written by my attorney, Larry Schonbrun.) On Thursday, the plaintiffs’ attorneys filed a brief defending the settlement, with many cites to Overlawyered as ad hominem attacks on the objection. The court’s hearing is June 25.

Grand Theft Auto: Class Action Objection II

I never thought I’d be involved in a hot-coffee lawsuit, but Gamepolitics covers my intervention and objection to the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas class action settlement, which I predicted before the suit was even filed.

(I corrected a mistake in the earlier post; I said I purchased GTA:SA for the Xbox 360 when, of course, I purchased it for the Xbox. Fortunately, my affidavit to the court was correctly phrased.)

Grand Theft Auto roundup

Grand Theft Auto IV debuts at midnight tonight to spectacular reviews, and the litigation is sure to follow…

  • Overlawyered favorite Jack Thompson (Mar. 21; Feb. 22; Sep. 27, etc., etc.), whose antics could fill an entire sub-blog, has sent an obnoxious letter to the mother of Rockstar’s boss, Strauss Zelnick, accusing it of being pornography and training for murder. A new book, Grand Theft Childhood, as documented by WaPo’s Mike Musgrave, suggests that the fears of corrupted childhood are overblown, though Lord knows I wouldn’t let any teenage kids I was responsible for play this game.
  • As someone who purchased Grand Theft Auto:San Andreas the first day it was out for the Xbox 360 original Xbox, I am a member of a plaintiff class in a class action settlement over the Hot Coffee mod where players can access the Internet and voluntarily modify the game to make it slightly more offensive to the easily offended. (To imagine that one can find p0rnography on the Internet!) In the settlement, I get, well, nothing, and the attorneys will ask for about a million dollars; worse, individual “representative” class members who suffered no injury will get $5000 that could have been used to buy more music rights for Grand Theft Auto IV. We’re frequently asked what we can do if we’re unhappy with a class action settlement where we’re a member, but this settlement was sufficiently appalling that I actually retained an attorney and he served an objection on my behalf on Friday. Further updates to come.

Update: I incorrectly said I bought San Andreas for the Xbox 360. Of course, San Andreas was never available for the 360. I bought the June 2005 release for the original Xbox.

Update: More.