Typically, lawsuits against game publishers are dense tomes, thick with legalese and reading like a team of lawyers has systematically drained every ounce of personality from the writing. Not so with the latest lawsuits to come out against Activision, Atari, and Take-Two Interactive.
Filed over the last few months by an inmate in South Carolina's Federal Correctional Institution Williamsburg, the handwritten suits seek restraining orders against the publishers. The Federal Bureau of Prisons and FCI Williamsburg are also listed as defendants in the Activision and Take-Two Interactive suits, respectively.
"These video games offends [sic] me and contributed to my identity theft," reads the Activision suit. "These video games promotes [sic] violence and hate and racism in prison. I'm personally offended and scared of my sentence. I'm going to die in prison. I seek a restraining order."
In the Take-Two suit, the inmate claims that he faces "imminent danger from violent inmates who played Grand Theft Auto who will knock me out and take my gold Jesus cross." As for Atari, the prisoner says that the company's games contain sexually explicit material. He also states that he is denied access to games while incarcerated, which amounts to discrimination.
The inmate, Jonathan Lee Riches, has already filed more than 1,500 lawsuits this year against a wide-ranging array of defendants including Washington Capitals left winger Alexander Ovechkin, Alone in the Dark star Christian Slater, St. Patrick's Day, the 9-11 Commission Report, and Star Wars. He is perhaps best known for suing former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick for $63 billion after Vick's illegal dog fighting operation was uncovered.
As of press time, none of the publishers had responded to requests for comment. In the interest of disclosure, it is also worth noting that Riches has sued GameSpot parent company CNET Networks, alleging that the organization has been spying on his "legal work" through the computers at FCI Wiliamsburg.