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'Infinity Ward Employee Group' sues Activision for $150 to $625 million


Rather than the usual news of Infinity Ward staffers leaving the company, occasionally jumping on board ex-IW founders Vince Zampella and Jason West's new development team at Respawn Entertainment, today we have word that a group of current and former IW employees are suing Activision for breach of contract. G4 got its hands on a lawsuit filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court by 38 plaintiffs -- a band of folks named the "Infinity Ward Employee Group" -- seeking "to recover between $75 million and $125 million, if not more, in compensatory damages." The group is also asking for another $75 to $500 million in "punitive damages."

Allegedly, the employees of IW have received $28 million in bonuses, and are claiming to be owed another $54 million from just 2009. The rest of the treasure chest is sought for a gaggle of other reasons, ranging from "lost value on restricted stock units that Activision promised would vest" to MW2's "sister games," which seems to include the still-unannounced Modern Warfare 3.

In fact, the group's lawyer Bruce Isaacs contends that, in holding the remaining employees based on claims of larger royalties, Activision has breached those employees' contracts. "Activision has withheld most of the money to force many of my people to stay, some against their will, so that they would finish the delivery of Modern Warfare 3. That is not what they wanted to do, many of them. My clients are entitled to their money. Activision has no right to withhold their money -- our money." The suit's legalese also claims as much, even going as far as to accuse the publisher of holding "[IW] employees hostage so that Activision could reap the benefit of the completion of Modern Warfare 3." Yikes!

Update: Activision has responded to the lawsuit with this statement: "Activision believes the action is without merit. Activision retains the discretion to determine the amount and the schedule of bonus payments for MW2 and has acted consistent with its rights and the law at all times. We look forward to getting judicial confirmation that our position is right."

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