ESA seeks $1.1 million in legal fees from California

With Supreme Court case decided, gaming trade group looks for state to foot the bill for its lengthy legal battle.

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As if it weren't embarrassing enough for California to lose its Supreme Court case against a consortium of gaming industry trade groups, now the state might have to pay for the legal team that successfully argued the industry's case. The Entertainment Software Association today announced the filing of a reimbursement motion for $1.1 million legal fees it hopes to claim from California.

The ESA's move follows the landmark gaming precedent of Winner Stays v. Loser Pays.

According to the ESA's motion, "California persisted in defending a law that plaintiffs warned the legislature was unconstitutional before it was passed; that was previously found to be unconstitutional by the district court and a unanimous panel of the Ninth Circuit; and that is similar to at least eight other laws invalidated as unconstitutional…"

This is nothing new for the ESA, which has previously seen its legal fees recouped after similar laws were overturned in Illinois, Michigan, and Minnesota. This wouldn't even be the first time California has lined the trade group's pockets over this particular law, as it was ordered to pay $280,000 to the ESA in 2008 after the same measure was ruled unconstitutional by a lower court.

Drafted by state senator Leland Yee and signed by then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005, the law would have criminalized the sale of violent games to minors. It also would have required a two-inch-by-two-inch sticker with a solid white "18" outlined in black to appear on the front cover of such games.

For more on the overturned law, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.

Discussion

62 comments
deathblow3
deathblow3

plan and simple you cant keep kids from see/playing what they want not enough man power. only the parents can do it they are the only one s that can monitor what there kids do. there is a little boy that 9 in my building that has cod, dead rising, halo, left for dead & gta and guess what his parents bought it for him he is very nice & kind so i guess he can handle it. but my kids cant so i dont really let them go over there. he can only come to my house and play mario. Has never bought a single video game in his life so this law would not have effected him in the least he would still have these games. just like every other little kid because retailers mostly dont sale m-rated games to minors its the parents buying them.

deathblow3
deathblow3

i guess all the thumbs down are from people that don't want to raise their own kids & and think this law is a good idea lol. i guess because some don't instill the right morals in their kids its games, movies & comics fault. if this was true japan would be 9 times worst than here(it isn't) because their games, movies, tv & comics are 5 times more violent and has more sexual innuendo than ours. heck even adult swim shows gets edited.

Spacerac
Spacerac

If anything, now we have a bona-fide Highest Court in the Land Can't-Be-Challenged ruling thanks to the stupidity of the California govt. Quite a few people there had also supported this law. Too bad those that were smarter than the rest still have to pay for their mistakes like that clown in a college class that makes everyone else have to do extra work.

monkeypukefight
monkeypukefight

btw did you hear? some country's are talking about passing a law that outlaws violent games all together. all because of some nutcase that killed over 90 people in norway and said afterwards that cod:mw2 is the best trainingsimulator for this kind of thing.... he needs to be hung for his actions. probably only gets 25 years max for his crime. my sympathies to the norwegian people.

santinegrete
santinegrete

Nice work Yee and Gobernator, now your political careers are in the same train as the one of the old geezer that has been throwing s**t to Hustler: Political Death.

monkeypukefight
monkeypukefight

i don't get it. why would they even try to pass a law like that. they might as well do the same with movies. or is it ok for minors to go watch a movie where heads get blown of by insane aliens who want to dominate the world. oooh right the movie-industry is pretty much based in california. that's like shooting yourself in the foot. i wouldn't be surprised they tried to pass this law to help out the movie -industry, witch we all know is failing so hard these past few years. with their garbage movies. puh!!

terrascythe
terrascythe

The law was unconstitutional before it was signed in 2005 and is similar to 8 other laws the court validated as unconstitutional. It might cost CA $1.1 million because they didn't bother to read the Constitution. That's $1.1 million to pay for the damages done by publicly elected officials who have not read the Constitution. Instead of trying to bypass the Constitution and criminalize the 1st Amendment, why don't they pass a law to Legalize Freedom!

zerospecterpunk
zerospecterpunk

Cases like this lead me to believe these lawsuits need to be paid by the legislators responsible for writing and pushing these bills/laws, rather than the government (a.k.a. the taxpayers). In all honesty, making legislators responsible for their own actions is probably the only way to change our governments' (both state and federal) thinking on fiscal responsibility and also has a chance to curb a lot of government funded stupidity.

raydawg2000
raydawg2000

awesome, can't wait to get hit with the extra furlough days it will take to pay back these stupid court fees

JSusie
JSusie

I don't even want to know what this entire ordeal has costed the taxpayers. It would be embarrassing.

wwlettsome
wwlettsome

Heh, another waste of tax payer money for political stunt purposes.

deathblow3
deathblow3

@firehawk998 my god your a genius man i wish i could sue him for wasting tax payers money

firehawk998
firehawk998

I have a better idea. The people of California is already going through a lot of hardships for their politicians stupidity. Instead of suing them why not sue Leland Yee the genius who for political gain came up with this stupid bill in the first place.

JackHoleFace00
JackHoleFace00

I live in California and it's stuff like this that show how and why California is the most bankrupt state run by the biggest jacka$$es in the country. Amazing that this is the best we can do, being the largest state. Instead of focusing on real issues that matter, we have state senators DRAGGING OUT 6 year legal battles to the Supreme Court--battles which most people could care less about when we have much bigger problems right now. I mean nice legacy, Yee. Wasting 6 years of tax payer dollars on something that was shot down over and over again.

jezz555
jezz555

good, stupidity deserves to be punished. let this be a lesson to them that when you try and distract people with ridiculous issues like violence in video games it occasionally turns around to bite you.The potential law was not only stupid but insulting to the creative minds that have poured their heart and soul into this industry. The blame rests soully with those who tried to get this farce of a law passed the ESA deserves to be reimbursed as california essentially wasted their time and money.

TBoneTony
TBoneTony

California is literally screwed and bankrupted because of the actions of a few idiots who wanted control over what kids see in their games. Leland Yee should be kicked out of office for his ignorance, the people of California deserve better than him.

Tsuchikage
Tsuchikage

This seems like kicking a dead horse to me. But not in the usual sense; California is the metaphorical "dead horse" here because it has lost the case and has almost no money left due to incompetent government of the state.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

I was very impressed by Gamespot's previous coverage of this legal battle. This news, on the other hand, is less interesting. Whether the victors in such a battle could recover their legal fees from the defeated is an entirely different question from the actual legal dispute. Although that dispute has the greatest importance to us gamers, the question of whether ESA could collect the fee from California is quite irrelevant. :) Still, it's news and it can't hurt to know. I am actually on California's side on the legal fee issue. I lived in California before moving to Texas. Goodness knows that state has enough financial trouble as it is. Any additional strain that may harm the residents of California, most of whom probably don't care about violent video games and many likely support the ESA, any such strain can't be a good thing.

Zloth2
Zloth2

1.1 million? From California? That could be tricky, they can't even afford to keep their prison system constitutional over there. @TheBlackEclipse, it isn't the politicians that need to learn, it's the people voting them into office.

TheBlackEclipse
TheBlackEclipse

I hope they end up getting it too. Maybe it'll end up teaching them a lesson... What the hell am I talking about? Politicians actually learning from their mistakes? I must be high...

ChaosDynasty
ChaosDynasty

See, Yee. Your crazy antics and attempt of a bill against video games end up making the people of California suffer. Karma sucks right, Yee.

tachsniper
tachsniper

go ESA hit them where it hurts, their wallets!

Vari3ty
Vari3ty

California taxpayers should be peeved at Lee & company for trying to push this through. Now it's going to cost them.

maxwell97
maxwell97

@reverendyates: Well said! Or, um, typed! "Society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one: for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries BY A GOVERNMENT, which we might expect in a country WITHOUT GOVERNMENT, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer." - Thomas Paine

reverendyates
reverendyates

Yeah, because California is just over flowing with money. Why doesn't government just leave us alone? Here's a thought: decriminalize freedom. Let we the people be responsible for what we eat, watch, smoke, listen to, whatever. Remember people, first they come for our games, then they come for our guns. People demonize games because they don't play them. We need to stick together. Fight for freedom on all fronts. Games, guns, free speech, food. It's your body and your mind. Maybe there is something you don't like that is being oppressed. Fight for it, so that maybe they will fight your your cause when the government comes for you!

HailHellfire
HailHellfire

looks like California is going to be getting another round of "I Owe You's," when they get there income tax checks back... i would be pissed if i still lived out there... lawmakers just waste money, its what their good at... they should make the people that wrote & pushed the law, pay the bill... they have enough money in their pockets anyways, i don't see it hurting them any...

jethrovegas
jethrovegas

@Infinity_Gauntl If the state ends up paying the ESA (again) then the state must answer to the taxpayers for the money it wasted. That's the state's obligation, not the ESA's. You can't expect the ESA to bend over for the good of the nation and swallow a million plus dollars in losses. I mean, what position are you in to decide what the ESA can and can't afford?

ilikepandas
ilikepandas

@Narxis All you're doing is voicing the same complaint about the younger generation being out of control that gets made with every new generation. I guarantee that similar people thought your parent's generation was irresponsible and lacking in moral parenting. Also, our society is "liberal" when it suits the rhetoric of conservatives and it's "conservative" when it suits the rhetoric of liberals so be careful when you paint "our" country so broadly with such labels. ...And take it easy on the exclamation marks.

ahpuck
ahpuck

As a Cali tax payer this makes me mad to no end. As a California gamer, I hope this finally teaches these fools to concentrate in doing their real job, and not mess around with things that have nothing to do with governing our state.

Bpg3D
Bpg3D

The ESA will have to take an IOU.

Gigaman222
Gigaman222

Too bad its the taxpayers that will be paying for this, atleast its a clear victory for gamers with a mix of revenge.

TheLemonGelati
TheLemonGelati

Good, California needs to get things under control, that state is just a mess when it comes to financial responsibility.

Infinity_Gauntl
Infinity_Gauntl

Now I don't think that its fair that they had to spend money uselessly but we as a country are hemeraging money wise.and every bit is killing us.

Infinity_Gauntl
Infinity_Gauntl

@Cartr1dgeBased , @nixtd I meant ESA as related in article about E3 "All told, the ESA took in $31.19 million revenue for the year, up from the previous year’s total of $25.78 million"- They do have a ton of cash and this is basically a lobbiest party for dev companies and trade companies. Yes they do put on functions and have scholorship programs but they can afford to loose 1.1 million.

Narxes
Narxes

@sirkel28 Both are damaging if you ask me! If you listen to the attitudes and comments that some of these younger kids are making in games like COD it is very disturbing! Our liberal society is telling kids do what ever they want and its showing its effect! The unfortunate thing is this law was useless too begin with, it doesn't stop the parents from buying these games for their 10 year old child! Parents need to wake up and start acting in a responsible manner and protect their children from violent and sexual based games! They are rated M for a reason!

keech
keech

@sirkel28 Nothing like fearful intolerance fueled by a sense of moral superiority to show everyone how corrupt your morals are.

chibi-acer
chibi-acer

Considering that the $1.1 million doesn't include the state's own legal fees (which like all things government related, I'm sure is quite expensive), that's probably over $2 million California has wasted on this fiasco. No wonder they keep trying to tax Amazon.com.

Infinity_Gauntl
Infinity_Gauntl

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

Sirbobislost
Sirbobislost

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

Dezuria
Dezuria

@sirkel28 People like you are more damaging than both of those things.

sirkel28
sirkel28

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Cartr1dgeBased
Cartr1dgeBased

@Infinity_Gauntl let me guess. you misread the header, didnt read the article then posted your "views"...

Hatemachine25
Hatemachine25

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

DrKill09
DrKill09

Good. California SHOULD be punished for entertaining the notions of a crazy man like Yee. :roll: Then they should take every penny that ugly bastard has.