A wrongful death suit which sought $600 million from PS2 manufacturer Sony and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City publisher Take-Two Interactive has been thrown out by a New Mexico appeals court.
The 2006 suit, announced with some fanfare by Jack Thompson during a televised news conference, sought to blame a grisly 2004 triple murder on 14-year-old Cody Posey's play of GTA Vice City.
In December, however, a judge ruled that the New Mexico courts had no jurisdiction in the case, since neither Sony nor Take-Two had offices there. The ruling also held that New Mexico law did not support the wrongful death claim.
Following the initial dismissal of the case, the plaintiffs had 30 days to appeal - a deadline which was apparently missed. Today's Las Cruces News-Sun reports that:
A state district court judge... had dismissed the wrongful death lawsuit for failure to provide a valid legal basis for the damage claim. The Appeals Court tossed out an appeal of that decision, saying the notice of appeal in the case had not been filed on time.
A request last evening for Thompson's comment on the appeals court ruling went unanswered. However, in April he told GamePolitics:
[The local attorney is] in charge of filings in New Mexico. I have nothing to do with the appeal.
We tried to reach that attorney, Steven Sanders, last month but he did not return our call.
GP: While the appeal was dismissed on what amounts to a technicality, the entire premise of the lawsuit was a disgrace. As I outlined in a column for Joystiq, the killer, Cody Posey, was the victim of severe physical, sexual and emotional abuse at the hands of two of the victims, his father and stepmother.
In fact, the mitigating evidence was so compelling that the New Mexico juvenile court ordered him held only until he turns 21. Moreover, Posey's own attorney, Gary Mitchell, didn't want anything to do with the "video games made me do it" defense, saying:
I didn't see as it as a meritorious defense. I was far more concerned about the abuse Cody suffered over the years than any connection to playing a game on the computer.