EA/Madden Class Action: Quick FAQ

The EA/Madden Class Action Suit

The GB news article is here.  This is a quick FAQ for concerned gamers.

Am I affected?

 The class members are anyone who purchased one of the football games between January 1, 2005 and today.  These games are: Madden NFL 06, 07, 07: Hall of Fame Edition, 08, 09, 09: XX Years Collector’s Edition, 10, and 11; NCAA Football 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, and 11; Arena Football and Arena Football: Road to Glory.

  It should be noted that you must be an indirect purchaser to be included.  That means you did not purchase the game directly from EA, but instead from another retailer, such as GameStop, Best Buy, or Amazon.  Also, the mobile versions of these games are expressly not included, and of course only the original purchaser of a new, sealed copy is included.

What happens in a Class Action Suit?

In a class action suit, a large group of civil litigants with the same claim are grouped into one suit.  The suit proceeds very similarly to any other suit, with a complaint and answer, followed by discovery, and eventually, a trial before a judge or jury, and eventually a verdict.

In this case, it is unlikely that there will be a trial.  More likely is that each side will engage in discovery (the process by which each party requests important information about the case from the other side).  Each side will research the relevant legal grounds, review their own case and the other sides, and engage in negotiations for a settlement.  In al likelihood, a settlement will be reached before the case goes to trial.

What will I get from this?

It is unlikely you will get anything.  In a suit with a class this large, any award would be split between thousands, possibly even millions, of fellow plaintiffs.  Additionally, the plaintiff’s lawyers will file requests for reasonable attorney’s fees.  These will be approved by the court, and will not exceed 25 percent of the total verdict.  However, class action litigation has additional expenses associated with the production, copying, and mailing of documents, as well as other necessary expenses, which will be reimbursed from the plaintiff’s award.

Also, Google’s recent class action relating to the privacy concerns over the “Buzz” service were settled with Google making a payment to an internet privacy group, and therefore the plaintiffs had no monetary recovery.

So, should I then “exclude” myself and hire my own attorney?

This is an option, if you do not believe your interests will be best represented by the class action counsel.  It would be possible to hire your own attorney (or represent yourself) and go up against EA.

Class actions, however, arose in part because of this issue.  EA has almost unlimited resources to litigate this case.  Unless you are a millionaire with an axe to grind, you will simply not be able to afford to fight a giant such as EA.  Class actions allow a group of individuals to pool their resources and take on a corporate giant.  Therefore, it is almost always better to remain as a part of the class.

Where can I find out more?

The website, EASportsLitigation, has all the information you need, in easy to read terms.   Also, keep checking this blog for more commentary.

(Note:  This information is for entertainment purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.  Reading this information, as well as any additional commentary posted here, does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.  The author is not licensed to practice law in this jurisdiction, and this commentary should not be viewed as an attempt to do so.)