LOS ANGELES, April 12, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Regarding the legal dispute between game developer Leslie Benzies and the publisher of top selling Grand Theft Auto 3, 4 and 5 titles, Christopher Bakes, Partner at Locke Lord LLP issued the following statement:
Leslie Benzies, an accomplished game developer and the driving force behind hit titles Grand Theft Auto (GTA) (editions 3, 4, 5, and Grand Theft Auto Online) seeks to fairly settle a dispute with Take-Two Interactive Software Inc., Rockstar Games Inc., Rockstar North Ltd, Sam Houser and Dan Houser. At the root of the dispute is a sabbatical that Mr. Benzies was enticed by Rockstar to take after leading the company to world-record breaking sales and revenue.
As described in the lawsuit, while on sabbatical, Mr. Benzies discovered numerous deceptions on the part of Take-Two, Rockstar, Rockstar North Ltd, Sam Houser and Dan Houser, who sought to force him out of the company and terminate his portion of royalty payments based upon arbitrary actions by the company's royalty Allocation Committee, a committee that may or may not have actually ever met. As the lawsuit describes, based upon agreements in place, as one of three named Rockstar Principals, Mr. Benzies is owed in excess of $150,000,000 million in unpaid royalties.
The lawsuit describes that Mr. Benzies, Sam Houser and brother Dan Houser were official "Rockstar Principals" by identical contracts each had with Take-Two. This was the company's way of rewarding Mr. Benzies by bringing him into the highest compensation tier. Having reached this height, Mr. Benzies' removal after years of receiving compensation identical to the Housers was the product of what turned out to be a lengthy deception by Sam Houser. The complaint describes Sam Houser's mounting resentments after many years of high praise.
During the lengthy mediation, as the complaint describes, Take-Two breached its mediation obligations by issuing an out-of-bounds and inaccurate press statement regarding his sabbatical and that he would not be coming back to work. In fact, when attempting to resume his duties upon conclusion of his sabbatical on April 1, 2015, Mr. Benzies found himself unable to enter the Rockstar North office because his facilities access device had been deactivated. After being let inside by building security, Mr. Benzies was then ordered to leave by the Rockstar North office manager without reason.
Mr. Benzies has spent the bulk of his life in the video game industry, and looks forward to reaching a fair settlement so he can continue creating great entertainment software in a respectful environment that truly values the work of game developers.
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SOURCE Locke Lord LLP