Class-action lawsuit commenced over buggy Battlefield 4, EA calls it "meritless" [UPDATE]
[UPDATE] Legal documents show executives sold thousands of shares ahead of Battlefield 4's release.
[UPDATE] The official class-action claim [PDF] shows that various Electronic Arts senior executives sold thousands of shares ahead of Battlefield 4's release. Check out the graph below for more.
The original story is below.
Electronic Arts is facing yet another legal battle over its military shooter Battlefield 4. Just a week after a Georgia law firm launched an investigation into the company over the game, the legal team behind the Enron lawsuit has commenced a class-action lawsuit against the publisher.
The complaint from Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP alleges violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 against EA officers and directors, though none were named specifically. Specifically, the complaint alleges that during the July 24-December 3 Class Period defendants issued "materially false and misleading statements" regarding Battlefield 4.
As a result of these statements, EA's share value rose and reached a high for the period of $28.13--allowing certain EA senior executives to sell their shares at the inflated price, the suit claims.
The lawsuit also features charges related to the bug-ridden PlayStation 4 version of Battlefield 4. EA's share value fell after the company disclosed the game's various issues, and then even further after EA said it had halted all future projects until the issues could be fixed. EA has since clarified that its work on fixing the Battlefield 4 issues has not impacted the release schedule of any of its future games, which led to the company's stock bouncing back significantly.
The case seeks to recover damages on behalf of everyone who purchased EA common stock during the Class Period. Importantly, this announcement does not mean a class-action lawsuit has officially been filed. Instead, the case needs a lead plaintiff to officially begin, who must come forward by the motion deadline in 60 days on February 15, 2014. At that point, a class-action lawsuit may be officially filed, but that remains to be seen.
An EA representative told GameSpot, "We believe these claims are meritless. We intend to aggressively defend ourselves, and we’re confident the court will dismiss the complaint in due course."
The full text of the specific claims levied against EA is available below.
(a) Battlefield 4 was riddled with bugs and multiple other problems, including downloadable content that allowed players access to more levels of the game, a myriad of connectivity issues, server limitations, lost data and repeated sudden crashes, among other things; (b) as a result, Electronic Arts would not achieve a successful holiday season 2013 rollout of Battlefield 4; (c) the performance of the Electronic Arts unit publishing Battlefield 4 was so deficient that all other projects that unit was involved in had to be put on hold to permit it to focus its efforts on fixing Battlefield 4; and (d) as a result, Electronic Arts was not on track to achieve the financial results it had told the market it was on track to achieve during the Class Period.
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