Overlawyered Disses Hot Coffee Class Action Settlement

April 29, 2008 -
One of our favorite blogs is Overlawyered, where overzealous attorneys (including you-know-who) are skewered on a daily basis.

While giving a mention to GTA IV on Monday, Overlawyered's Ted Frank dropped a nugget of information that caught our eye: He's one of those who signed on to the GTA San Andreas Hot Coffee class action suit. Ted writes:
As someone who purchased Grand Theft Auto:San Andreas the first day it was out for the Xbox 360, I am a member of a plaintiff class in a class action settlement over the Hot Coffee mod...

In the settlement, I get, well, nothing, and the attorneys will ask for about a million dollars; worse, individual "representative" class members who suffered no injury will get $5000 that could have been used to buy more music rights for Grand Theft Auto IV... This settlement was sufficiently appalling that I actually retained an attorney...

Curious about Ted's thoughts on the class action, we asked him to say a bit more:
The underlying litigation was meritless.  Lawsuits allege that the "Hot Coffee mod" is consumer fraud, damaging the class. This is dishonest nonsense: no one can identify a single human being who... bought the game knowing about the sexual innuendo and violence... but would not have bought the game had they known that it was conceivably possible to modify the game... [with] additional content that wasn't any more explicit...

The lawsuit is simply extortion: threaten Take Two with expensive litigation unless they agree to pay off the lawyers who brought the lawsuit.  But the lawyers are supposed to be representing the class, not themselves, and the lawsuit injured the class of Grand Theft Auto customers, the vast majority of whom would have preferred that Take Two not be harassed.

Ted had some specific issues with the terms of the settlement as well: 
Class members will not receive any cash unless they sign an affidavit that they were offended by the Hot Coffee mod and would not have purchased the game if they had known about it.  These facts are not enough to be entitled to damages...

The named class members, who are supposed to be acting as class representatives, will be receiving $5000 -- even though a number have no valid cause of action because they bought the game without actually knowing what was in the game, and would not have been entitled to more than a refund even if they had won...

The plaintiffs' lawyers... will be asking for close to a million dollars, though there is no evidence that they provided any benefit to the vast majority of class members, and there is no record of how many class members will be getting paid.

Comments

Wow....that's all I can think of, because of the overall stupidity of the whole thing.

I must also add something that I said last time as well.

It takes a real scum bag of a lawyer to file a class action lawsuit. After all, they know perfectly well that they will be the only ones receiving anything worthwhile.

Overlawyered.com is working for me. Are you behind a firewall? Could be a proxy thing... (sorry for the HIGHLY technical terms...) ;-)

Isn't this how all class action law suits end up? The consumer gets a few bucks (if any), and the lawyers make out like bandits. There's a REASON why the entire world hates lawyers, and this type of stuff is EXACTLY why.

So, while we all KNEW deep down in our knowing places the lawsuit was idiotic at best, now we KNOW.

[...] wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptOne of our favorite blogs is Overlawyered, where overzealous attorneys (including you-know-who) are skewered on a daily basis. While giving a mention to GTA IV on Monday, Overlawyered’s Ted Frank dropped a nugget of information that caught our eye: He’s one of those who signed on to the GTA San Andreas Hot Coffee class action suit. Ted writes: As someone who purchased Grand Theft Auto:San Andreas the first day it was out for the Xbox 360, I am a member of a plaintiff class in a class action settlement over the Hot Coffee mod… In the settlement, I get, well, nothing, and the attorneys will ask for about a million dollars; worse, individual “representative” class members who suffered no injury will get $5000 that could have been used to buy more music rights for Grand Theft Auto IV… This settlement was sufficiently appalling that I actually retained an attorney… [...]

See,

Never go to a Lawyer if you want to punish a Videogame

You can only punish a videogame by not even buying it, or even taking about it.

I was saying the exact same thing the last time we had a story about the Hot Coffee class action suit.

Class action is a pointless practice. Sure it shows that a bunch of people were upset with the company, but the same results could be made by a bunch of people filing complaints with their AG.

THe only people who really win a class action are the lawyers.

It's a trap? O.o

So.... Lawyers are leeches?

This is a breaking story!

Said it before and I'll say it again: class action lawsuits are modern day scams where only the lawyers profit.

NOTE: if the class is small (like 30 people or so) and they have been harmed (like, when a company illegally dumps toxins near a water source or something), then I'm all for it. But the way class action suits are usually brought they become nothing but legalized extortion.

After reading this, I am reminded of Weird Al Yankovic's song "I'll Sue 'Ya!"

As someone who purchased Grand Theft Auto:San Andreas the first day it was out for the Xbox 360, I am a member of a plaintiff class in a class action settlement over the Hot Coffee mod…

Hmmm, when did GTA:SA come out for the XB360? Even if you go by the release date of GTA:SA it still came out roughly a full year before the XB360.

I was just about to post the same thing Phoenix. No GTA has ever been on the 360, until...oh...about 8 hours ago EST.

E. Zachary Knight
Not always there are times when real people get sick or hurt by corporate mallous, this is not one of them tho.

Is anyone else getting a "Forbidden" error when going to Overlawyered.com?

I just don't understand how the suit ever flew. "Strong Sexual Content" right on the box.

Wow, just wow o_o.

Grand Theft Auto: Class Action...

I never thought I'd be involved in a hot-coffee lawsuit, but ...

Why is Hot Coffee such a major issue?

I think I'll confuse the issue with some facts:

1. Second Life - any person with a capable computer, email address, and internet connection can login to Second Life for free and watch explicit porn all they want, cyber, get hookers, explicit skins for their avatar and the like.

2. The Sims/Sims2 - plenty of 'adult mods' there - PLENTY. I have most of them~ ;)

3. There are some other 'niche' games out there, I won't mention any specifics that are much, much more graphic.

4. Anyone with an internet connection can just Google and find many adult games and get many, many, many free trials.

5. Most Cable Networks have Hardcore Porn on demand

6. There is LOTS of porn on the internet - including court briefs filed by Jack Thompson that have explicit images in them.

7. Umm, Playboy, Genesis, Hustler - etc... I seen FAR worse in some of those magazines in the 70's than GTA can even come close to.

8. MTV - 'nuff said

9. Cartoon Network late night shows - say 'penis' more times in an hour than in the whole of GTA

10. Music - free on Yahoo, and other spots LEGALLY that have more explicit language in 5 minutes than GTA has in the entire game

11. Out in Public - have you seen what some people wear in public at the pool and the beach?

12. Spike TV, entertainment TV - breasts and ass 24/7

13. I could add 15+ stations to the above statement

I could go on.... and on...

If you grew up in the 70's - you are certainly not 'unaware' of the sex out there. That's when it really started getting 'non-taboo'.

Go watch Woodstock Jack... OMGZ!@#!@#!@# THERES aRE NAKED PEOPLE IN THERE!!!

.............. I'm seeming to remember a segment from a Family Guy episode where Satan asks, "Where's a lawyer when you need one?" ...... Its coupling with a memory of a ctrl-alt-delete t-shirt where one of the characters mentions a cure for stupidity being a liberal application of blunt force trauma. Not the exact words, but... a class action suit against a game maker over a mod is like a class action suit against a glass maker over a window that opens too easily from the outside. Don't like the mod, don't apply the mod. Or was the 'mod' actually a 'patch' that had to be applied?

Wow... Damn, wow... O.O


The lawsuit is simply extortion: threaten Take Two with expensive litigation unless they agree to pay off the lawyers who brought the lawsuit.


And here I thought the whole issue couldn't get any more ridiculous or infuriating, my suspicions are confirmed.

Once again,

"Kill all the Lawyers." - William Shakespeare

The Lawyers, on the other hand have a saying:

"The man who represents himself in court has an idiot for a client."
Kind of like the driver who says:
"The man who drives himself to work has an idiot for a chauffer."
The lawyers know they're redundant and useless.

This post makes it clear: Jack Thompson shall now be known as either You-Know-Who or He Who Must Not Be Named.

@JohnnyD

I don't know... it didn't work either at home or at my office... but I can access it with a proxy.... maybe it's not available to mexico?

Oh well...

Now that was not a surprise, especially if you follow other such class-action lawsuits.

At least it wasn't like the one involving Iomega and their faulty Zip drives(not to mention their other drives....), all you got back was a $5.00 or some such pathetic amount TOWARDS ANOTHER ONE!

So the companies get punished a little, and the real winners are the lawyers taking all the credit.

@ Michael Brooks
How about "He Who Should Be Constantly Laughed At And Ridiculed"?

Somehow I just know that there would be trouble around this, so here is what I found at the gamerdad website

http://www.gamingwithchildren.com/2008-04-28/what-parents-should-know-pt...

Apparently, getting to the Hot Coffee mod (in gta 3) can be seen as (or is) hacking the game to get to this (orphaned code) content. As I understand it, some times, orphaned code gets left behind on the disc? because the devs. didn't get or have the time to delete it?

@Karsten

Yes. It's not just videogames. Most software has orphaned code in it of some sort. It's usually stuff that is started but for whatever reason along the way they decide it isn't going to be implemented fully. Large software packages are complicated, and if you just pulled it out you may have unexpected and unpredictable side effects in the rest of the code that are hard to test for. After a certain point in the schedule rather than risk that you just make it so it can't be accessed by normal means, or "orphan" it.

Now whether or not someone at Rockstar should have figured that the Hot Coffee content wasn't going to get past the ESRB well before it got to that point in the schedule where it could be removed safely is another argument entirely. But under proper circumstances no one should have seen it.

If you have any questions, you can ask me either here or there (I wrote the article, and some of the ones linked to in it).

I remember Super Mario Sunshine having its little share of orphan code...in one of the bays if you dive to the underwater floor there's a door that you can't open. Turning your camera sideways shows that there's a book behind that door, but you don't know what it is for. And you can NEVER know, because you'll never get that damn book!

I still cannot for the life of me understand why this case got anywhere...

on a similar vain, if you took the bambi film and re-edited the footage to make it pornographic, that makes Disney liable?

Crazy...

Wait...what do facts have to do with this? I thought this was all about getting some more gratuitous lawsuits gumming up the legal system (or today's gladiator combat, might be more accurate).

How is this legal again, and why haven't we fixed that yet?

The first thing we should do is kill all the lawyers.

Where have I heard that before?
 
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