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O’Melveny & Myers Takes on Video Game Giant
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O’Melveny & Myers LLP has filed a lawsuit against video-game maker Activision Publishing Inc. in Los Angeles County Superior Court. The suit, which was filed on behalf of video-game makers Jason West and Vince Zampella, creators of the popular titles Call of Duty and Modern Warfare, alleges breach of contract and wrongful termination among other violations.

According to a press release from the O’Melveny & Myers, West and Zampella created Call of Duty and Modern Warfare while at Infinity Ward studio, a company the pair co-founded in 2001. After its acquisition by Activision in November 2003, West and Zampella continued to serve as president/game director and chief operating officer, respectively. However, they were subsequently terminated by Activision just weeks before they were to be paid substantial royalty payments as part of their existing contracts for Modern Warfare 2, the suit alleges.

The suit alleges Activision hired lawyers to conduct a pretextual ‘investigation’ into “unstated and unsubstantiated charges of ‘insubordination’ and ‘breach of fiduciary duty,’ which then became the grounds for their termination March 1.”

  
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“Activision has refused to honor the terms of its agreements and is intentionally flouting the fundamental public policy of this State (California) that employers must pay their employees what they have rightfully earned,” said their attorney Robert Schwartz.

Modern Warfare 2 and Call of Duty are considered two of the most successful video games in history. O’Melveny & Myers said the two franchises have generated more than $3 billion in sales for Activision.

West and Zampella are seeking a minimum payout of $36 million and future control of the Modern Warfare franchise as compensation for their alleged unlawful dismissal.

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