Thompson adds ESRB as Defendant in Best Buy Suit

October 25, 2007 -
On Monday GamePolitics reported on game-hatin' attorney Jack Thompson's plan to file a lawsuit against Best Buy, allegedly for selling M-rated games to minors.

Thompson issued a press release yesterday, stating that he had indeed filed the suit in the Miami-Dade County Circuit Court and providing a case number (07-36080).

As we reported, the claim against Best Buy suit looks as if it will be going nowhere. Thompson has also apparently named the ESRB in the suit. That looks like a non-starter as well. His explanation:
The ESRB has been sued by Thompson because it is well known that it a) is owned and operated by the video game industry, b) does not even play the games it rates to conclusion, c) routinely mislabels games as to age appropriateness, per testimony before the U.S. Congress, and is engaged in representations to American parents that the age label are accurate and are keeping “Mature” games out of the hands of kids...

Although we haven't yet seen the complaint, Thompson also apparently takes a shot at Dr. David Walsh, president of the National Institute on Media and the Family. Relations between Thompson the NIMF head have been frosty ever since Walsh publicly distanced himself from Thompson as reported in a GamePolitics exclusive. Thompson writes:
[The lawsuit] details the relationship between Best Buy and the alleged “video game industry watchdog” organization called the National Institute for Media and the Family headed by David Walsh.  Both are located in Minneapolis. 

GP: Both located in the same city? OMG, they must be guilty!

Attorney Mark Methenitis has a thought-provoking commentary on Thompson's latest stunt at his Law of the Game blog.



ARPAnet was not created for any purpose but as a testbed for networking technologies. It was always packet-switched, but routing was pretty much based on pre-established virtual circuits in the IMPs. IP didn't come around til 1980, roughly 10 years after the first IMPs were switched on.

@video game time

He wants steak banned because babies can't chew it.

@ Blackice

You didn't play duck hunt, you wouldn't understand, that damn dog had it coming damn it.

Jack was a close second though I'm sure, but while he's an annoyance, to many gamers, thats all they ever really think of him as. But to those who grew up on games, that damn dog was a source of endless anger and frustration.

What about the fact that... "ANYONE WITH A CREDIT CARD" can buy this stuff? I highly doubt that CHILDREN have credit cards, and hopefully, if for some reason they decide to steal their parents card for a few minutes and buy something they shouldn't, then the 'rents would find out eventually and punish them accordingly.

I'm just waiting for him to name Dennis and GP as defendants, because we all know that they are "vidoe agme industry shills."

@ Conejo

Exactly. Best of all is this argument he made is ON RECORD in his very own court filings.

This lawsuit takes the place of what would have been a suit to declare Manhunt 2 a nusiance.

By the way, Jack- what are you doing now that the "October 25" release date for Halo 3 is here? :D


Well the Soviets 'were' part of the allies, and got lots of equipment via Lend/Lease.

Just after the war the relationship went down like a bad date film.

Ya know, this has got my thinking, didn't Nazi Germany control all aspects of the media and censor/ban anything they didn't agree with? Akin to JT wanting to censor/ban anything he doesn't agree with.

Games being burn in the street after a ban could be like the book burnings and concentration camps. No one dies directly from these, but the game makers loss of a living and money spent making the game could really wreck their lives.

As an aside, anyone here listen to Sabaton? I just got two of their CD's this week, both deal a lot with WW2 and to a lesser extent the Cold War. Kind of interesting to see this discussion after getting the CD's and since I know a lot of people here listen to good music (eg. Blind Guardian) would be cool to know if anyone else listens to Sabaton.

I think I smell a burning Thompson. EW!!! It smells like horse poo.

Prince was never good though..

Hm....this is getting pretty fun, watching him make a fool of himself in the eyes of gamers and lawyers and judges. the only problem is the civilians that might belive his crap


"What he doesn’t tell you is that the suit is based on Florida’s Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices act which in fact does make illegal selling a product in a deceptive fashion–LIKE SELLING MATURE GAMES TO KIDS."

I think you were going to note another point and then went off on a tangent, mixing up 2 unrelated charges. Would you please clarify the above statement?

Also, shall we expect to see this suit also riddled with spelling errors?

I'm surprised none of the parties he's gone after has filed a Rule 11 motion against him for an unjustified theory of law or harassment, as these suits all get dismissed with no reasonable legal theory, and often consist of personal attacks on the parties.

There is no Miami-Dade County Circuit Court case number (07-36080). They have been in the 90000's for awhile now. If you're going to lie, make it believable.

Jack, seriously, are you a closeted homophobic gay person? Your comments like calling Dennis darling are starting to make people think that!

John B. Thompson, Attorney at Law
1172 S. Dixie Hwy., Suite 111
Coral Gables, Florida 33146

October 26, 2007

Dr. David Walsh
National Institute on Media and the Family
606 24th Avenue South, Suite 606
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55454 Via Fax to 612-672-4113

Dear Dr. Walsh:

This week I sued the ESRB and Best Buy for their alleged violation of Florida’s Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act. As you know, Best Buy entered into a formal agreement with me to settle a prior lawsuit in which it promised to henceforth check anyone who appeared to be 21 and under in order to stop sales to kids under 17 of Mature games. Best Buy also promised the nation that it would do this.

Best Buy is obviously not doing this, at least not here in Florida. I have repeatedly proven that.

As you also know, you publicly attacked me awhile back for allegedly asserting that I was saying that NIMF endorsed my efforts. I never did any such thing. I was endorsing NIMF, because back then I thought you were doing a good job in what you do. I am sure there are some good things you do now. In fact, I know it. That is why I asked 60 Minutes to put you on the air again in March 2005, and they did.

However, your attack upon me was uncalled for and not fact-based. If you really wanted me to stop saying NIMF endorsed me, then you should have contacted me directly. I would have told you that I was not doing that, and I would have been happy, publicly, to make it clear that I was not doing that. Instead, you went to GamePolitics with a letter asserting I had done something I had not done. It reads as if it were written by Attorney Elliot Kaplan.

Which brings us to my request. As you know, you have in the past publicly asserted an alleged “100%” compliance by Best Buy with its alleged policy not to sell Mature games to anyone under 17. Dennis McCauley asked you about that at the time, but Dennis does not always dig where he does not want to dig.

I find again, as I found at the time, public documents that disclose funding of NIMF by Mr. Kaplan’s Foundation. Mr. Kaplan, of course, is legal counsel to Best Buy and serves it as its Secretary and Director.

NIMF, of course, has an obligation to be transparent about where it gets its funding so that the public, which hears your public pronouncements about these things, can judge for itself your reliability and your possible biases. Maybe you have no such biases. But when you are holding forth about how wonderful Best Buy is and then we find you get money from Mr. Kaplan’s Foundation, it at least gives one pause.

So, I want to know where I can get a listing of all of your donors for the past five years, Dr. Walsh. Is that list in the public domain? If not, please forward that list to me at the above address if you would be so kind. Thanks.

Regards, Jack Thompson

Copies: Dennis McCauley, GamePolitics
Hal Halpin, ECA
Elliot Kaplan, Attorney

Also @ JT

why is it that everytime you launch an ad hominem attack on someone, it ends up describing yourself more than thet person you are attacking?

I find it interesting that you think the lawsuit is going to work. The simple fact that the esrb was added to the suit kinda means it's going to be dropped already because the ESRB CAN NOT stop the sale of M rated games, they just rate the games.

The ESRB will have nothing happen to them because this suit has NOTHING to do with them.

The judge is going to look at those documents, look back at you, and say "now what does this have to do with the case?" and you really won't have an answer that will suffice.

Yep, Jack's lost it.


you just realized that now?


Nope, but I just found the last piece of evidence needed.

Misguided righteousness fills me with great sadness. :(

"Why ignore the movie industry?

There can only be a few answers:
1. Mr. Thompson is afraid of the people in the movie industry, as they would likely be viewed as "more powerful" than the game industry.
2. Mr. Thompson is giving undue weight to the unproven link between interactivity and a heightened impact.
3. Mr. Thompson has an unhealthy fixation on and unequivocal bias toward games, which cannot easily be explained.
4. Mr. Thompson's logic is flawed, for some other unexplained reason, so that he either ignores or actually favors violent movies. (Perhaps he is a Saw fan.)"

I vote ALL of the above!

You ever get the feeling he's just throwing as many lawsuits as possible against a wall in the hopes that one of them sticks?

The way Thompson handles legal issues it the equivalent of going hunting with a battle tank or a B52 bomber. That or he's the idiot in an online FPS who fires rocket launchers in narrow spaces.

everyone in Minneapolis is a criminal, it is common knowledge.

Mr. Jack Thompson,
You'll comment here. I know you will. I want to ask, though, why do you still comment here? How many times have you sworn off this site? I am serious, I really want to know. Please answer me. Why do you make comments here? Why do you make comments that insult the site's creator and his readers? What do you hope to gain by that? Do you really think you can change any of our minds, especially with your inflammatory words?

Jack lost already. He argued that since you needed to be an adult to have a credit card, then minors would not be able to access his gay porn over the public dockett system.

Good luck, "sweetie".

@Al Wesker You can also ask where his promise to stop or at least ease off insulting gamers went

I want to know what this testimony is regarding the ESRB routinely misrating games - the testimony that's apparently in front of Congress right now. That seems to be the crux of his argument here (JT would like for it to be illegal for anything to be owned and operated by the video game industry, I imagine, but as of now it's not) and I haven't heard of any conclusive statement that the ESRB is inaccurate. For that matter I thought that consumer studies show parents trust the ESRB to a large extent, feel that if anything it rates games too strictly, and that aside from GTA:SA and Oblivion rerates (which were prompted by user-created content) there aren't that many major inaccuracies. Hardly a case for the ESRB being liable for damages because of neglegence or fraud.


His promise went off with his morals.

(IF he ever had any in the first place).

That's smart have your enemy testify on your behalf. After all they are sure to support you after you painted them and other like them as the source of all the evils in the world.

"The ESRB has been sued by Thompson because it is well known that it a) is owned and operated by the video game industry, b) does not even play the games it rates to conclusion, c) routinely mislabels games as to age appropriateness (etc and so on)."

Now then, to break down this farce into easy-to-digest rebuttals:
A) *cough* HORSESHIT! *Cough* The ESRB is an independant rating board that charges the publishers to rate their games. No one in the industry hands them a check with the intent of maintaining the ESRB. Again, classic Jack Thompson lie. Either that or he's so blind to any version of the truth but his own that he refuses to acknowledge reality. I vote the former.

B) Alright Jack. Aside from the overwhelming response that it would be IMPOSSIBLE to play all the games that last 20-40 hours and still produce timely results, I demand that you tell me exactly whats wrong with the video clip system. Or better yet, go get 100 of your lawyer buddies (Assuming you even have buddies) and play every game in existence. To it's utter completion. And don't forget the games that randomly generate their own content. ... and while you're at it, how about you play a few online games for about oh, 300 hours each and give me a nice cross-section of how the online experience changes gameplay. Until you can do that, you've got nothing.

C) Why the hell should anyone but the parents be responsible for keeping 'M' rated games out of the hands of kids. Just because you hand YOUR little boy a credit card and tell him to go buy games, doesn't mean that the rest of the american public has the IQ of the average banana. Like it or not, kids get carded for games more often than not. But then again, that's detrimental to your argument isn't it? Poor baby.

Get over yourself you inflated miscreant. You've all but lost and the only one that doesn't see it is you. That's no light at the end of the tunnel Jack... It's a Train.

AgnostoTheo, Capable of thought AND free speech, and you're not.

Ay Jackie boy, if you think the ESRB should play every game thrown to em, maybe you should give em a hand, since half of those games range from 50 to 100+ hours each, but then again, that would end badly. (I give Spyro an M for including fire). But seriously, the ESRB rating system is not a government body of law, the M rating, despite meaning M for Mature, does not mean "Illegal to sell to minors". Its just that simple. And fyi, if you dont like Best Buy's selling habits, DONT SHOP THERE. Thank You

"Jack lost already. He argued that since you needed to be an adult to have a credit card, then minors would not be able to access his gay porn over the public dockett system.

Good luck, 'sweetie'."

Good point, Zerodash--he also conceded, in response to someone's post stating that the poster had played videogames all his/her life and had never gone on a shooting spree, that one person's anecdotal example was statistically insignificant. Thus, the two "stings," both of which involved him and his son (am I wrong, or were they not even done at the same Best Buy location both times?) are insignificant & do not prove any pattern of unfair trade practices. If Jack is bringing this suit in his own name, those statements come in as evidence against him.

That makes me wonder--on behalf of what Plaintiff is Jack bringing suit? With his stupid little nuisance suits, he relied on a Florida statute saying that he could bring suit in the name of the state--I wonder if Florida's UPA has similar language? Perhaps I'll have to look that up at work today.

Mark Standridge, attorney (and still will be in 2008)

@ Al Wesker
"Why do you make comments here? Why do you make comments that insult the site’s creator and his readers? What do you hope to gain by that?"

My guess is that Thompson is an instigator. He knows that he’ll never present his argument well enough to change any of our minds because, well basically he doesn’t have an argument. All he’s looking for is for us gamers to become angry enough at his actions and words that we’ll do something stupid enough against him to use to back up what he wants everyone out there to believe… that gamers are aggressively violent psychos.

As hard as anyone of us comprehend this but I seriously believe he’s hoping for the day someone actually attacks him or someone in his family (ie: his son, which is probably one of the reasons he publicly announces his “stings” at Best Buy). Just so he can say a crazy gamer attacked him. He’s trying to become a martyr.

I hope that never happens... for his family's sake.

Theres crazy, theres insane, then, theres Jack thompson.

It's easy to see now why he was named number 2 on Screwattacks top ten Douchebags of gaming.

This is about the dumbest thing jack could do. Bad enough to be under investigation, but to add to the mater he now has to go and start activly attacking more companies just to give them excuses to file more complaints.

You know what the definition of crazy is right jack? Doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results.

You keep trying the same thing, lawsuits, over and over, and get the exact same result. Whats the result?


Like I said, another baseless lawsuit from the poster child for tort reform and the need for "loser pays".


Penny Arcade already denied him one of his chances at self martyrdom.

Wow, since when did "twice, due to hidden content that was allegedly removed from the game" turn into "...routinely mislabels games as to age appropriateness...:?

"Like I said, another baseless lawsuit from the poster child for tort reform and the need for 'loser pays'."

You might get your wish on that "loser pays" bit--I don't know the law in Florida, but I know that other states' Unfair Practices Acts have a reverse-attorneys' fees provision where, if the Court finds that the lawsuit was completely baseless/groundless, the Court can order the Plaintiff to pay the Defendants' reasonable attorneys' fees and costs.


You mean this right?

Yeah, thompson pretty much is the walking definition of why we need tort reform.

Then again, he's the walking definition of Shakespears old adage.

"Kill all the Lawyers"

Then again, shakespear was a massive cynic and tended to be a bit over dramatic, so he might have just been mouthing off.

Either way, I still have this to say.


Jack Thompson, if you ever read this (and, judging from a previous comment, you might), please stop these damn lawsuits. You're making yourself look more like an ass than ever and you're gonna have so many people ready to pwn your ass that you're gonna know how Custer felt at the Battle of Little Bighorn. Just be a big boy and step down, 'cause you're just looking like a whiny little kid who isn't getting his way. Seriously.

Okay, so he probably won't listen, but damn that felt good to get out.


And like in this case, Custer's actions weren't bravery, they were all stupidity.

So Jack is suing the ESRB because it "...does not even play the games it rates to conclusion..."

So according to Jack, you shouldn't be allowed to give a rating for a game unless you play it to the end, but it's just fine to try and get a game banned for being an "ultra-violent" "murder simulator" when you've never played it at all... ever.

His hypocrisy never ceases to amaze me.

Didn't he pretty much admit on TV the other day that when his son bought those Mature rated games that he was right there with him? I mean, if he is standing right there with his son when he's buying them why would an employee check for age when the parent is basically allowing their child to purchase the game themselves.


I've never played Duck Hunt, so I don't understand, but.. HOW THE HELL DID JACKIE NOT MAKE 1ST FUCKING PLACE!!!!!11one.

ESRB, Best Buy response:

Sir, in all fairness, I think ought pog ma thoin.

Jack Thompson, you're just digging a deeper grave.

Which will make it all the funnier to watch you step into it.


I suppose such evidence couldn't be used against him if the time ever came?

@Austin Lewis

"to watch you step in it"

I dunno, I like the idea of a Judge throwing him in it better..

@Austin Lewis & BlackIce, Leftie

And wit how deep it has to be by now, well, he sure can't got to Hell any louder.

Say hi to Doomguy for us Jack!!!
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