Activision Blizzard scored a minor victory today in its ongoing lawsuits with Jason West and Vince Zampella over the developers' 2010 firing and subsequent establishment of Respawn Entertainment with Electronic Arts. According to a Bloomberg report, a California State Superior Court judge today dismissed one of two fraud claims the developers made against Activision.
Specifically, the judge tossed out a fraudulent-inducement claim in which West and Zampella accused Activision of making false promises to them during 2008 contract negotiations so they would stick around for development of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
Activision claims it fired the pair because they were secretly planning to start their new studio with the help of Electronic Arts while still employed with the Call of Duty publisher. West and Zampella claim the real reason they were fired was so that Activision wouldn't have to pay them millions of dollars in royalties associated with Modern Warfare 2. Beyond the performance-based payout and any other court-awarded monetary damages, West and Zampella are seeking to gain co-ownership of the Modern Warfare brand. If successful in court, West and Zampella would have the right to create and release both old and new installments in the Modern Warfare franchise.
The trial on all remaining claims in the case is scheduled to start May 7.