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Category — Jack Thompson

Jack Thompson Sanctioned by Florida Court for Abuse of Process

Categories: DecisionsJack Thompson

Text of Sanction Order (March 20, 2008)
Text of Show Cause Order (February 19, 2008)

wo Florida bar disciplinary proceedings are pending against Jack Thompson. On April 12, 2007, the Supreme Court of Florida warned Jack Thompson that he could be sanctioned if he continued to submit inappropriate filings. Thompson filed over 50 subsequent filings. On February 19, the Court issued a ‘show cause’ order:

It appears to the Court that you have abused the legal system by submitting numerous frivolous and inappropriate filings in this Court. Therefore, it is ordered that you shall show cause on or before March 5, 2008, why this Court should not find that you have abused the legal system process and impose upon you a sanction for abusing the legal system…

Apparently Mr. Thompson was unable to show such cause. The court decided Thompson’s “constant abusive filings” were repetitive, frivolous and insulting. As such the Court (per Curium – 7 concurring judges) has issued the following order sanctioning Mr. Thompson:

Accordingly, in order to preserve the right of access for all litigants and promote the interests of justice, the Clerk of this Court is hereby instructed to reject for filing any future pleadings, petitions, motions, documents, or other filings submitted by John Bruce Thompson, unless signed by a member in good standing of The Florida Bar other than himself. Under the sanction herein imposed, Thompson is not being denied access to the courts; that access is simply being limited due to his abusiveness. Thompson may petition the Court, but may do so only through the assistance of counsel, whenever such counsel determines that the filing has merit and can be filed in good faith. However, Thompson’s frivolous and abusive filings must immediately come to an end. Further, if Thompson submits a filing in violation of this order, he may be subjected to contempt proceedings or other appropriate sanctions..

Sources: GamePolitics.com | Joystiq | Wired | Next Generation | ars technica | Escapist | Law.com

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Take Two Settles with Jack Thompson

Categories: "Inside Baseball"Jack ThompsonSettlementsViolent Game Law Cases

Settlement Agreement and Mutual Release (April 17, 2007)
Text of Amended Answer and Counterclaim (March 28, 2007)
- amended to remove all but one paragraph of the counterclaim
Text of Original Answer and Counterclaim (March 21, 2007)
Text of Complaint (March 13, 2007)

Take-Two and Jack Thompson have settled their GTA IV/Manhunt 2 suit and counter suit. Thompson has agreed:

  1. not to sue or threaten to sue over the sale and distribution of ANY game – not just Manhunt 2 and GTA IV as sought in the original complaint – designed, published, manufactured, distributed or sold by Take-Two, its affiliates, subsidiaries etc.;
  2. not to threaten such suits; and
  3. to communicate with Take-Two only through its lawyers.

However, Thompson will still be free to criticize the content and distribution of such games and to represent third-party plaintiffs in actions against Take-Two, its affiliates, subsidiaries etc. alleging individual harm.

Dale’s Comment: It is odd for a settlement to contain an explicit agreement to limit communication with an opposing party to communication through counsel as the rules of professional conduct in most jurisdictions specifically prohibit lawyers from communicating directly with persons represented by counsel.

CONTINUE READING →

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Jack Thompson Countersues Take-Two

Categories: "Inside Baseball"Jack ThompsonViolent Game Law Cases

Text of Amended Answer and Counterclaim (March 28, 2007)
- amended to remove all but one paragraph of the counterclaim
Text of Original Answer and Counterclaim (March 21, 2007)
Text of Complaint (March 13, 2007)

In response to last-week’s Take-Take-Two law-suit seeking to preemptively stop him from bringing suit:

  1. to stop the sale and distribution of Manhunt 2 (due out in the summer of 2007) and GTA IV (due out in October 2007); and
  2. seeking pre-publication review of the games;

as he did in the past with Bully, Thompson has predictably brought a countersuit accusing Take-Two of racketeering and violation of his civil rights.Astonishingly, Thompson, in the original counterclaim (subsequently amended), Thompson accused Take-Two of conspiring with prominent online gaming publications GamePolitics, Kotaku, Spong, Joystiq, Gamespot, IGN, Game Informer, Electronic Gaming Weekly, Penny Arcade, and others to commit racketeering activities!Specifically, Thompson originally claimed that such “conspiracy” violated section 18 USC 241 which states, in part:

If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in ny State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or njoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same;… They shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both;

Wow, this is, err, novel! As noted by GamePolitics.com, however, Thompson subsequently amended the counterclaim from 20 pages down to the following single pargraph:

If the court finds that it has jurisdiction over this matter, it should review the video games in question, allow a review of those games by this defendant and then hear argument if requested by this defendant as to wherein the Plaintiff should be enjoined from distributing video games to minors.

CONTINUE READING →

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Take Two Seeks to Enjoin Thompson From Brining GTA IV & Manhunt 2 Suits

Categories: "Inside Baseball"InjunctionsJack ThompsonViolent Game Laws

Text of Complaint (March 13, 2007)

In response to pre-existing threats form Jack Thompson, Take-Two Interactive has preemptively asked the Southern District Court of Florida to provide declaratory and injunctive relief against Jack Thompson to stop him from bringing suit:

  1. to stop the sale and distribution of Manhunt 2 (due out in the summer of 2007) and GTA IV (due out in October 2007); and
  2. seeking pre-publication review of the games;

as he did in the past with Bully. In the words of the complaint:

…declaratory relief is especially necessary here because Thompson has a history of making multiple threats of legal action, whether substantiated or not, both against Plaintiff as well as the retailers who purchase the video games and offer them for sale to the public.

Dale’s Comment: Interestingly, the firm representing Take-Two in this action, Blank Rome, LLP, is the same firm that previously had sought to have Jack Thompson held in contempt of court.

CONTINUE READING →

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Take Two Sends Wolfman Productions Cease & Desist Letter

Categories: Cease & DesistJack ThompsonTrademark Cases

Wolfman Productions was using Rockstar's GTA San Andreas logos/trademarks on its webpage promoting Jack Thompson's college detate tour. Jack Thompson is on the record for saying he is out to destroy Rockstar. Rockstar's parent, Take Two, sent a cease-and desist order to Wolfman Productions. Wolfman complied. As of this posting Master Chief, Laura Croft, Doom and Postal images/trademarks/depictions are still on that page.

Sources: GamePolitics.com | Wolfman Productions Debate Page

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Federal District Court Judge Makes Louisiana’s Violent Game Bill Injunction Permanent

Categories: DecisionsInjunctionsJack ThompsonViolent Game Law Cases

Text of Short Summary Judgment Ruling (November 29, 2006)
Text of Preliminary Injunction (August 25, 2006)
Text of Temporary Restraining Order
Text of ESA Complaint
Text of Violent Game Bill (HB 1381)

Hot on the heals of the 7th Circuit’s upholding the permanent injunction against Illinois’ Safe Games Illinois Act’, Federal District Court Judge James Brady issued a bench ruling permanently (followed by this short summary judgment ruling) enjoining the application of Louisiana’s, Jack Thompson-drafted, Violent Game Bill.

ESA’s response to the ruling:

“What makes Judge Brady’s action unusual and remarkable is that he issued his ruling from the bench rather than through a written decision, a strong signal that he felt the State’s arguments were so without merit that they didn’t even require a detailed opinion beyond the Judge’s August decision imposing the preliminary injunction. In his August ruling, the Judge emphasized the State’s failure to take into consideration when passing this law the long line of previous cases holding that video games are protected speech. The ESA will immediately file to recover its legal fees from the State as it has successfully done elsewhere.”

“In nine out of nine cases, federal courts have struck down these grandstanding efforts by politicians to ban video game sales to minors. It doesn’t get clearer than that. One hopes that enough is enough. Video games are like rock and roll: they’re here to stay, and it’s about time for elected officials to focus their energies, and taxpayer dollars, on truly productive and useful programs to educate parents to use the tools industry has made available — from ESRB ratings to parental control technologies.”

Sources: GamePolitics.com | Gamespot |ars technica | GameDaily.biz | Gamasutra

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Jack Thompson Misfires with Mortal Kombat Cease & Desist Letter

Categories: Cease & DesistCharacter License CasesCopyright CasesHumourJack ThompsonTrademark Cases

The new Mortal Kombat Armageddon game has a built-in character editor. Gamers can mix and match clothing, body types, hairstyles and facial characteristics to create original characters to be played/fought in the game. The enterprising e-zeen Gaming Target posted this story providing character editor formulas for gamers to use to create famous, and infamous, characters including a formula for creating anti-game-violence crusader Jack Thompson.

Jack Thompson, apparently not quite understanding the character editor distinction, sent off a cease and desist letter to Midway, the game’s publisher, with the following contained therein:

“It has today come to my attention that the newly recently Mortal Kombat: Armageddon contains an unauthorized commercial exploitation of my name, photograph, image, and likeness within the game.”

“You are commanded to cease and desist immediately from the distribution of this game because of this unauthorized, illegal content…”

“It would appear that your company has done this at least in part because I sued you all in the Paducah school massacre case and further because I appeared on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 when your company came out with your profane, violent, and idiotic Blitz: The League.”

To be clear, there is no crusading Florida lawyer character that is shipped with the game. On the presumption that Jack Thompson is aware of the Marvel v. NCSoft decision (see linked posts below) which is on point, this demand will likely just fade away once Mr. Thompson realizes what has happened here. The mere inclusion of a character editor does not, in itself, infringe anyone’s IP or personality rights any more than the manufacture and sale of Etch-a-Sketches does.

Sources: GamePolitics.com| Gaming Target | Gamasutra | joystiq | The Inquirer | GameSpot | EuroGamer | GWN | Pro-G | igniq.com

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Florida Judge Personally Files Contempt Complaint Against Jack Thompson, then Recuses Himself

Categories: Jack Thompson

An initial hearing was held in the contempt hearing requested by Take-Two’s lawyers, Blank-Rome. (See Destructoid’s Youtube video of the proceeding below). Judge Friedman accused Thompson of wanting the judge to provide him with a soapbox – something he refused to do. After Thompson argued openly and personally with the judge, Judge Friedman then informed Thompson that he was going to personally file a complaint against Thompson with the Florida Bar and because of that he went on to recuse himself from further contempt hearings. At one point the Judge seemingly threatened Thompson with immediate incarceration if he continued to hold up a large bristol-board presumably showing the Court’s contempt rules. Neiro at Destructoid took a Video of Initial Contempt Hearing on YouTube.

[Update: The Prior YouTube Video of Proceeding No Longer Available]

Post-Contempt Hearing Sources: Destructoid | Calgary Sun | Canoe.com | BoomTown | GameSpot | CNet | Kotaku | Gamasutra

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Take-Two Lawyers Move Court to Find Thompson in Contempt of Court

Categories: Jack Thompson

Thompson’s Post-Ruling Letter to Judge Friedman [.doc]
In the wake of the recent Floridian court review of Bully, Take-Two’s lawyers, Blank-Rome, filed a “Petition for Order to Show Cause” asking the court to find controversial lawyer in contempt of court. GamePolitics.com reports that after hearing of the petition Thompson fired off an e-mail that included the following fiery excerpts that appear to both threat

‘You want to play hardball…? You want to try to throw me in jail? You have no idea what you are unleashing in doing this. You’re at the brink…”

“If this court in any fashion proceeds toward issuing a show cause order, given its utter baselessness and the bad faith goo in which it slithers, then Thompson will add whatever judge should do so as a defendant in the aforementioned federal civil rights action…”

Dale’s Comment: I have not seen the contents of the petition but I do note that immediately following the judges ruling Thompson sent Judge Ronald Friedman this highly charged, disrespectful and threatening letter.

Reports of Contempt Filing: GamePolitics.com | GameSpot | Next Generation | 1Up.com | PressStart.com | GameShout | Spong| Destructoid | Gamasutra

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Florida Court Clears “Bully” for Sale Despite Jack Thompson Protest

Categories: Game Violence CasesJack Thompson

Text of Thompson’s Complaint [.doc]
After ordering Take-Two to provide a pre-release copy of Bully for review in chambers, Judge Ronald Friedman, a Miami-Dade County Circuit Court judge ruled that Bully is not a public nuisance and dismissed Thompson’s complaint. According to Niero of Destructoid, who was in the court, the judge said the following:

“I have spent a couple of hours viewing the game. It was produced to me by an operator using a cheat, which allowed him to skip through the game and show me ‘key points’ that would require an average gamer hundreds of hours to reach. There is a LOT of violence, but not more than the general public has access to on television”

“As I said, there is a lot less violence in this game than what we see on television, and although it is pervasive, but not to the extent that it would cause a public threat that would require me to prevent these folks from selling it”

“Would I want MY kids to play this game?” His palm is open like a starfish on his chest. “Absolutely not. But this game is not a nuisance.”

Sources: Destructiod in-Court Summary | GamePolitics 1 | GamePolitics 2 | GamePolitics 3 | Miami Herald | 1Up.com | CNet | OUT-LAW.com | InformationWeek | IGN | afterdawn.com | GameIndustry.biz | Inquirer | Next Generation | Gamasutra

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Court Orders Take-Two to Provide an Advanced copy of Bully for ‘Judicial Review’ :)

Categories: Game Violence CasesJack Thompson

Text of Thompson’s Complaint [.doc]
Jack Thompson has convinced Judge Ronald Friedman, a Miami-Dade County Circuit Court judge, to order Take-Two Interactive to provide an advanced copy of the “T”een rated video game Bully for review in chambers by the court. Contrary to some early reports, the judge did not order that the video game be provided to Jack Thompson for his review. Rather, the judge has ordered that along with the game, Take-Two provide someone to play the game in front of the judge so the judge can review it. Thompson had called this game a “Columbine Simulator” without ever having seen the game.

Dale’s Comment: After months of controversy and fears that this video game would celebrate and promote bullies, all the reviews I have read and listened to make the point that, to the contrary, being a bully is not celebrated. The main character is not a bully at all, but, rather, has to defend himself against school-yard bullies and form alliances with other schoolyard mates. This critically acclaimed game is more akin to a high-school simulator letting players relive in a very realistic way, what it was like to be in high school and deal with the trials and tribulations of growing up.

While I was somewhat pleased that the order was limited to handing over the game for review by the court and not by Thompson (goodness knows what kind of a precedent that would have been), I still find it disconcerting that a court interposed itself into the process to decide for himself whether the game is suitable for sales to minors. Who appointed him the emperor?

Sources: Gamasutra | Play | ars technica | The Register | OUT-LAW.com | GameSpot | GamePolitics.com 1 | GamePolitics.com 2 | Miami Herald | Washington Post Destructoid | BBC

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Another GTA Wrongful-Death Suit Launched (Cody Posey)

Categories: Game Violence CasesJack Thompson

Jack Thompson is involved in yet another wrongful death suit brought against Rockstar, Take-Two and Sony. This one involves the case of Cody Posey who confessed to killing his father, stepmother and stepsister. Once again Thompson, representing the surviving Posey relatives, argues that the game acted as a simulator that trained Cody to be effective killer. Thompson had filed a similar suit in Alabama where he was forced to remove himself from the case shortly before his temporary Alabama license was revoked in a shroud of controversy.

Sources: Albuquerque Tribune | Gamasutra | GamePolitics.com 1 | GamePolitics.com 2 | joystiq | Wall St. Journal Law Blog | Pantagraph.com

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Jack Thompson Sues For Early Access to Bully Video Game

Categories: Game Violence CasesJack ThompsonPublisher/Developer Cases

Text of Complaint [.doc]
Jack Thompson has sued Rockstar and Wal-Mart for early access to the video game Bully so that he may independently review it prior to commercial release. He cites the ESRB rating system as having been inept in the past at rating Take-Two products.

Dale’s Comment: Thompson proves yet again that he will try any stunt to get notoriety. I will be very surprised if this ‘case’ is not immediately dismissed.

Sources: GamePolitics.com | GameSpot | Pro-G | CNet | ars technica | Inquirer | Bit-tech.net

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Jack Thompson’s Louisiana Amicus Curiae Motion Rejected

Categories: Jack ThompsonViolent Game Law Cases

A Federal District Court Judge denied controversial lawyer, Jack Thompson’s, motion to file an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief in the ESA case challenging the recently passed (and recently enjoined) Louisiana Violent Video Game Bill – a bill he helped to write.

Source: GamePolitics.com

GamePolitics Full Coverage of Louisiana Violent Game Law

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Jack Thompson Files $1M Harassment Lawsuit Against Florida Bar

Categories: "Inside Baseball"Jack Thompson

Jack Thompson has filed a $1,000,000 harassment lawsuit against the Florida Bar. Specifically, in this complaint, Thompson alleges that: (i) the Florida Bar has participated in a civil conspiracy, collaborating with complainants who have filed SLAPP bar complaints against him to shut him up; and (ii) Rule 4-8.4(d) of the Florida Rules of Professional Conduct, as interpreted by the Florida Bar, impinge on his First Amendment Freedom of Speech rights. Thompson had previously claimed in a letter to the the Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida that: “The Florida Bar and its agents have engaged in a documented pattern of this illegal activity, which may sink to the level of criminal racketeering activity, in a knowing and illegal effort to chill my federal First Amendment rights“.

Sources: GamePolitics.com | North Country Gazette | GameSpot | MTV | Gamasutra

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Alabama Judge Revokes Thompson’s Temporary License

Categories: Jack Thompson

Florida lawyer’s request to leave case denied; judge opts to revoke temporary license to practice law in the state instead.

Sources: Gamespot | Gamasutra | Next-Gen.biz | Wikipedia Entry on Thompson | Gamasutra

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Thompson Exits GTA Cop Killer Case

Categories: Game Violence CasesJack Thompson

Controversial lawyer representing families of two police officers killed by GTA-playing Devin Moore, removed himself from GTA case following allegations of professional misconduct.

Sources: gamesindustry.biz | Gamasutra | Next-Gen.biz | Wikipedia Entry on Thompson

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Thompson Comes Under Fire

Categories: Jack Thompson

Controversial anti-video gaming lawyer Jack Thompson appears in court to defend right to practice law in Alabama. Law firm Blank Rome has filed a motion to have Thompson taken off the case and to revoke his legal license.

Sources: EuroGamer | gameindustry.biz | Wired Article on Thompson | Wikipedia Entry on Thompson

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