A Dallas, Tex. jury found that casual game maker PopCap owes former business partner MumboJumbo $4.6 million in damages after a 2006 retail distribution deal went sour.
The jury found PopCap liable for fraud, tortious interference, and breach of contract, according to the lawyers for MumboJumbo, which is responsible for games such as Midnight Mysteries: The Edgar Allan Poe Conspiracy and Luxor Adventures.
A rep for Seattle-based PopCap, maker of some of the most popular casual games on the market, including Bejeweled, Plants vs. Zombies, and Zuma, told Gamasutra that the dispute isn't over yet.
"PopCap continues to believe that it did nothing wrong in this case, and will vigorously pursue its claims and defend itself through the appeals process," said PopCap's Garth Chouteau, VP of public relations at PopCap.
The two companies signed a game retail distribution agreement in July 2006, in which Dallas-based MumboJumbo was meant to provide sales and distribution services for PopCap and its games. That deal eventually went sour, with PopCap suing MumboJumbo for payments allegedly owed under the agreement, and MumboJumbo countersuing.
A statement from MumboJumbo's law firm, Rose Walker, L.L.P., said PopCap "breached the contract when it went behind MumboJumbo's back and decided to market and sell its games on its own."
The trial took 12 days, said MumboJumbo's lawyers, who added that "PopCap committed fraud and tortious interference when it severely damaged the business relationship between MumboJumbo and a key retailer."
The statement added, "Central to proving that portion of the case were PopCap's own internal e-mail messages, which showed the company employed a calculated use of false and misleading statements in order to sour that business relationship." A trial is scheduled for this week to determine attorneys' fees to add to the $4.6 million in damages owed.
Attorney Marty Rose with Dallas-based Rose Walker added, "The law allows you to do plenty of things to be successful in business. However, it does not allow you to commit fraud or interfere with a company's business relationships. The jury's verdict is a clear signal that this type of business conduct is not going to be tolerated."