Plaintiffs are moving for class certification in an action against video game developer Take 2 Interactive in San Francisco Superior Court. Take 2, who has also published Bioshock and Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, is probably most famous for owning Rockstar Games, makers of the notorious (and awesome) ‘Grand Theft Auto’ series. The suit filed on behalf of Aaron Martinez and other individuals similarly situated alleges that Take 2 forced their “quality assurance testers” to work unpaid overtime. However, just because a suit is filed as a class action does not mean it becomes one. The trial court has to certify the case as a class action. A class action is a vehicle for there to be one trial for a large number of plaintiffs where it would be wasteful or impractical to try several different cases, particularly where the amount in controversy is low. For example, if John Smith in California buys a $20 widget from XYZ Corp that does not work as advertised, John Smith can sue on behalf of everyone in California that bought the widget. In determining whether to certify a case as a class action, the court looks at different factors, such as whether there are a large enough number of plaintiffs (numerosity) and whether the claims of any one plaintiff are similar enough to those of the entire proposed class (typicality). The complaint can be found here: http://www.righettilaw.com/Second-Amended-Complaint-Take-Two.pdf
The complaint is on the website of the plaintiffs’ law firm, which appears to be looking for more disgruntled testers to come forward to join the class. The more plaintiffs involved, the better the chance for class certification. Tommy Vercetti could not be reached for comment as to whether he would join the suit.
Yet, even if the class is certified, the greater challenge might be convincing a juror who likes to play ‘Red Dead Redemption’ when he gets home from work that the guy who had to stay late at work playing ‘L.A. Noire’ was underpaid. Well, the law is the law. Some lawsuits flourish, others die. You know that. Game references aside, these types of class action lawsuits for unpaid overtime are serious business, at least in California courts.