Federal Judge Certifies Class Action Lawsuit Against Electronic Arts, Says Hagens Berman

Dec 22, 2010, 13:15 ET from Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 22, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- A federal judge certified a national class-action lawsuit against Electronic Arts, Inc. (Nasdaq: ERTS) based on allegations that video game consumers overpaid for popular sports titles including Madden NFL.

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The decision, ordered by U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn R. Walker on December 21, 2010, also appointed Hagens Berman to serve as co-counsel representing consumers nationwide who purchased National Football League (NFL), National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), or Arena Football League branded video games produced and released by Electronic Arts after January 1, 2005. Eligible class members who would like more information about the class-action lawsuit may contact attorneys at maddenNFL@hbsslaw.com.

"Consumers now have a legal standing to demand that EA refund consumers millions of dollars it made from Madden NFL and other sports titles through what we contend was an illegal price-gouging scheme," said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman. "We're gratified by the ruling, and believe it underscores how lucrative and exclusive agreements in the video game industry can come with an inflated price tag for consumers."

The lawsuit, initially filed by Hagens Berman on behalf of plaintiffs, claims that Delaware-company Electronic Arts violated antitrust and consumer protection laws by holding exclusive license agreements with NFL, NCAA, and Arena Football League. Through these agreements, Electronic Arts developed and published highly coveted sports titles that generated billions of dollars in sales while allegedly restricting competition, the lawsuit states.

"We believe EA forced consumers to pay an artificial premium on Madden NFL video games," said Berman. "We intend to prove that EA could inflate prices on their sports titles because these exclusive licenses restrained trade and competition for interactive sports software."

The lawsuit claims that the agreements may have inflated the price of certain Electronic Arts-produced sports titles including Madden NFL, by up to 70 percent. Madden NFL is Electronic Arts biggest sports franchise in the United States, and occupies four of the top 10 best selling games in the nation, industry reports claim.

The 67-page court order provided further explanation behind the judge's decision, and granted the plaintiffs' request to represent respective class members seeking punitive damages against Electronic Arts. The judge excluded consumers who purchased similar games sold for mobile devices from the class action.

The judge also declined the plaintiff's request for an injunctive relief, and will allow testimony from video game industry expert Jill Hamburger. Additional court documents are under seal.

Class members who wish to be notified of further development may contact attorneys at maddenNFL@hbsslaw.com or call (206) 623-7292. A class notice will be sent to class members in the next 60 days.

More information about this case is available at: http://www.hbsslaw.com/maddennfl.

About Hagens Berman

Seattle-based Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP is a consumer-rights class-action law firm with offices in Boston, Chicago, Colorado Springs, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Founded in 1993, HBSS continues to successfully fight for consumer rights in large, complex litigation. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at www.hbsslaw.com.

Contact: Mark Firmani, Firmani + Associates Inc., 206.443.9357 or mark@firmani.com

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Steve W. Berman


SOURCE Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP