West, Zampella object to EA addition in Activision suit

Modern Warfare creators seek to block Call of Duty publisher's motion to amend, claiming extreme personal financial burden of ongoing litigation.

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Just before the gaming industry ground to a standstill for the Christmas holiday in December, Activision fired off a legal broadside in its ongoing dispute with former Infinity Ward heads Jason West and Vince Zampella. The filing sought to amend its original countersuit against West and Zampella to add rival Electronic Arts as a co-defendant in the case, as well as request $400 million in damages from the Respawn Entertainment founders and their new publisher.

West and Zampella could use a helping hand.
West and Zampella could use a helping hand.

Yesterday, West and Zampella responded to Activision's motion to amend, objecting to the request on grounds that the Call of Duty publisher waited too long to make its request. Further, the filing contends that Activision did so only in order to cause undue financial hardship on the game makers. Currently, the trial is scheduled to begin May 23, 2011.

"Litigating this case imposes substantial financial and time burdens on [Jason West and Vince Zampella]--much greater burdens than those imposed on Activision, a large corporation that has earned over $3 billion from selling the videogames plaintiffs developed," the filing reads. "Plaintiffs suspect that Activision waited so long to add EA primarily to delay plaintiffs' day in court. Plaintiffs desire a prompt resolution to their claims and to avoid the significant additional expense that a delayed trial date would cause."

"The monthly cost of this litigation has imposed a substantial cost on [Jason West] and co-plaintiff Vince Zampella," it continues. "West and Zampella are paying for the litigation from their own funds and are not being subsidized or reimbursed by anyone else. … Delaying the trial means more costs, more burdens, and continued distractions in trying to run their business, non-party Respawn, and manage its dozens of employees."

Additionally, the filing contends that all discovery related to EA was produced between June and July 2010, some seven months before Activision entered its motion to amend.

"Activision knows its delays [are] a problem, so it devotes much of its motion to attempting to show that it 'only recently' received discovery responses on which its proposed amendments are based," the filing states. "In fact, however, all of the recently produced discovery relates to the additional allegations against West and Zampella, and all of the discovery relating to EA was produced to Activision more than six months ago."

The suit goes on to note that Activision would still be free to sue EA for its role in the situation in a separate suit, one that would operate independently and, more importantly, not impede West and Zampella's day in court.

In the event that the court grants Activision's leave to amend, West and Zampella request that it do so under the "condition that the trial date not be affected."

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