Activision Blizzard Inc. (ATVI), the No. 1 U.S. publisher of video games, won dismissal of one of two fraud claims in its litigation against the former heads of its Infinity Ward studio, whom the company fired in 2010.
State Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle in Los Angeles agreed today with Activision that a fraudulent-inducement claim made by Jason West and Vincent Zampella, creators of the blockbuster game “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2,” shouldn’t go forward. He let stand a claim for promissory fraud.
West and Zampella said that they were considering leaving Activision when their contracts expired in October 2008. They alleged that Activision made false promises to string them along and create “Modern Warfare 2,” which became the bestselling game of 2010, before firing them.
The former executives added the claims to a 2010 lawsuit in which they alleged that Activision, based in Santa Monica, California, fired them to avoid paying millions of dollars in royalties for the game.
Activision maintains they were fired because they were in secret talks with rival Electronic Arts Inc. to set up a new development studio.
In a December 2010 cross-complaint, Activision asked for $400 million in damages from Electronic Arts for interfering with the contracts of its employees.
A trial on all remaining claims is scheduled for May 7.
The case is West v. Activision, SC107041, California Superior Court (Los Angeles County).
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