ESA, Illinois continue game-law spat

After state apparently gives up on violent-games law, industry lobby demands reimbursement for legal fees.

Last July, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich approved the first state gaming laws of the post-Hot Coffee era. The Violent Video Games Law and the Sexually Explicit Video Games Law sought to limit the sale and/or rental of games with violent and sexually explicit content. Retailers caught renting or selling such games to persons 18 or under would have been fined up to $1,000 for violating the statute.

But the laws never took effect. On the same day Blagojevich signed them, the Entertainment Software Association said it would file suit to have them overturned. A federal judge ruled with the ESA and fellow industry group plaintiffs in December, declaring the laws unconstitutional.

The next day Blagojevich said he would appeal the ruling, promising to continue "the crusade against violent video games." It now appears that specific crusade has come to an end, or is at least on an extended hiatus.

Blagojevich appealed the judge's ruling in early January, but only the part pertaining to the Sexually Explicit Video Games Law. There has been no such appeal from any party in regards to the Violent Video Games Law. Representatives from Blagojevich's office were not available for comment.

While it's tough to quantify what this case has cost the state of Illinois in lost man-hours and resources, the industry has put a price on its own efforts, and is now asking a judge to have the state foot the bill. The ESA today announced that it filed a petition in the United States District Court seeking to have Illinois ordered to reimburse $644,545 in legal fees that the group spent fighting the laws. ESA president Doug Lowenstein said in a statement that this wasn't the group's preferred course of action.

"We had hoped to reach a settlement without the need to file this petition because we believe it is important to move on, both so Illinois taxpayers know the full cost of this litigation and so we can focus on programs that actually help parents raise their kids safely," Lowenstein said. "Unfortunately, while it was clear we could agree on the amount of fees to be reimbursed, the state made other demands which we could not accept. Accordingly, consistent with our belief that the public has a right to know how much of their tax dollars were spent defending a statute that everyone knew from the start was unconstitutional, we have proceeded with this filing."

Contrary to Lowenstein's comment, it appears the two groups actually could not agree on the amount of fees the industry was due. In a court filing dated yesterday, an attorney for the ESA says that the state has taken exception with the lawyers' hourly rates. When asked for clarification on the discrepancy, an ESA representative said that the two sides had reached a compromise on the issue in principle before those discussions fell through.

Attorneys with the group's legal firm earned between $215 and $585 per hour while defending the case, but the state wanted hourly rates capped at $325 for lawyers with more than three years of experience and $200 for all other attorneys. The time frame during which legal costs are eligible for reimbursement is also being disputed, as are more than $50,000 in various fees and general costs the ESA is seeking above and beyond its legal team's hourly fees.

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30 comments
Cloud737
Cloud737

I wonder what those "other demands" the state wanted from the ESA were.

SiLENT_K1LL
SiLENT_K1LL

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

GS_darkplayer
GS_darkplayer

I think that good that it didn't work out. And if they want to stop or lower the violent acts in this country. Then why get more funding to help poeple with mental illiness. And they will get help more faster. them more we get thoses poeple that are indangerment to other and themselfs. And i remember right the wrest batter in man history was in time before video games.

metdevthegamer
metdevthegamer

I'm never violent because of video games. If anything, I'm violent because of other things or people. I find most games to be relaxing, they take my mind off of my real life problems. Others might say the same. These stupid, ignorant politicians make me mad; I think I'd become violent because of these guys trying to pass all of these laws prohibiting or hindering violent games. We should vote people into office that actually know video games.

dn3datomiced
dn3datomiced

You know, I find it funny that my brother, who rarely ever played video games, used to have a violent temper. Now that he plays video games all the time, he's actually mellowed out quite a bit. Doesn't punch walls, doesn't scream, and he OWES his temper control to games like GTA and Halo. Oh, the bittersweet irony.

blackIceJoe
blackIceJoe

I hope they learn there lesson and stop trying to ban games people would find a way to play them even if they where to be banned from little kids.I for one think there are many worse things then a kid with an M game.I will not get into it but there are many worse things and I have to say what a waste of time and money.THey should have known it would not pass.THis money they could have used to help people instead of burning it.If people do not want kids to get a bad game the parents have to look at the game not just get it because there kid wanted it and after they get it there parents see how bad it is and then want to take it up in court.THey need to stop with trying to take away games before people really get mad and then what they where trying to not happen like real fights it might just happen and I hope it will never come to that.I am thankful for the time being that it is done with.

trogdorchief01
trogdorchief01

YES!!!!!!!!! (if you can't tell i live in Illinois)

boolow407
boolow407

"Programs that help raise kids safely"...How about parents stop relying on the government to do THEIR job? Be a parent and actually monitor what you want them to see rather then relying on "big brother" to become big mommy and daddy too.

rainmanstile
rainmanstile

you know i wonder if these politicans read the part about freedom of choice in the constitution? seriously, you are supposed to have a choice about these things. i mean as bad as drugs are even that is defended by the constitution and look how they treat them. anytime a church see's any activity that threatens the morals that they pick and choose to believe in they throw a hissy fit. i dont get why something like 3% percent of christans choose to try and force there will and religon upon others while the other 97% percent stare dumbfounded at there bretherens lack of intellligence. why did one preacher in alambama's complaint about indecency over the radio lead to the fcc( which by the way is not controlled by the people it governs as it should be by our laws.) being formed and deciding what we can and cannot watch on telivision. why do we do such dumb things? our politicans look for any way they can make a bold statement and get some time in front of a camera and this is quicikly becoming the new hot button topic for them to wage a political war over while we suffer and clean up there mess.

Kaji-Oni
Kaji-Oni

I live in Chicago, and I hope some other democrat runs against him.

gonzalezj1
gonzalezj1

Hopefully, this will teach those idiots a lesson. I mean, I know it won't teach them a lesson at all, but one can only hope.

Kem-Rixen
Kem-Rixen

"Luckily here in my state Massachusetts, the politicians don't care about violent games!" I have no doubt that Romney would love to ban our violent video games, but his power is minimal in comparision to the rest of the state goverment.

bringon22
bringon22

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bringon22
bringon22

f*** you blagovich you suck! we need a f***** better govenor

Kfoss
Kfoss

bHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH HAHAHAHAH!!!!!!....wow thats funney!!!..just them there money you sore LOOOOOSSSEEEEERRRRRSSSS!!!!!!

41789
41789

Are these stupid politicians ever going to give up!? I mean, come on, dont they know how to determine reality from fantasy!? Violent games don't teach kids too be violent, they CHOOSE to be violent. Luckily here in my state Massachusetts, the politicians don't care about violent games! They have never proposed a law against it. I'm sorry for you gamers in the states with politicains against violent games. But I'm on your side though! I dissagree with those stupid politicians.

AaronKI
AaronKI

Thanks, Blagojevich! I'm sure glad to see more of my tax dollars being wasted.

redwinder
redwinder

i am glad that i am not american.

Ahiru-San
Ahiru-San

glad i don't live in the u.s....

Strag3n
Strag3n

lighten up t mac, but ya they got pwned lawl

Big_T-Mac
Big_T-Mac

"Good for Illinois lawmakers giving up, now we make them pay, even better. HAHAHA, oh wait, I guess the taxpayers are the ones that will pay. I'm glad I don't live in that state." I'd much rather pay the taxes than have to make blagojevich right in any way (I'm 19, btw). He's the worst governor ever, and a terrible human being. He genuinely does not deserve to live.

bcfish
bcfish

This is called salt in the wound, and considering the egos that put this law into effect in Illinois in the first place, they will likely bite back. I would let lying dogs lie, instead there's going be more mess and videogames will get more bad press.

paradyme777
paradyme777

lol, Judge Judy...good to see them striking back or at least getting reparations

ImaginaryFriend
ImaginaryFriend

They should have just taken it to Judge Judy, she would have hammered this thing out in 30 minutes with commercial breaks and it would have cost the tax payers alot less then 1.2 million dollars (that amount was just one side, I'm just doubling it to get an estimate of the states costs).

tbonetrav18
tbonetrav18

Good for Illinois lawmakers giving up, now we make them pay, even better. HAHAHA, oh wait, I guess the taxpayers are the ones that will pay. I'm glad I don't live in that state.

StealthyBurrito
StealthyBurrito

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]