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West, Zampella Protest As Activision Lawsuit Expenses Grow

West, Zampella Protest As Activision Lawsuit Expenses Grow

January 5, 2011 | By Leigh Alexander

January 5, 2011 | By Leigh Alexander
More: Console/PC

Under fire from an Activision lawsuit, Infinity Ward co-founders Jason West and Vince Zampella now claim the publisher is deliberately taking its time about the case -- and that the ongoing process is causing them prohibitive financial stress.

The pair sued for wrongful termination after Activision fired them for alleged "insubordination", and the publisher responded with a counter-complaint that accused West and Zampella for conspiring, in effect, to steal the Infinity Ward studio and evade its obligations to its parent in their quest for independence.

That counter-claim was filed in April 2010, but only at the end of December did Activision file to add an amendment to the case, implicating rival publisher Electronic Arts in the alleged conspiracy.

Activision is now accusing West and Zampella of meeting with EA in secret months prior to their firing, plotting to breach their contract and to ferry Infinity Ward secrets and key staff out of the house with them.

West and Zampella's newly-founded studio, Respawn Entertainment, did come to light with a publishing deal with EA in hand.

But according to new documents found by consumer weblog Kotaku, the pair now claim that Activision knew well ahead that it planned to accuse EA in the case, and that by waiting until the end of the year to amend its claim, it purposely delayed the trial, currently set to begin in May.

The long process and ballooning costs are a prohibitive distraction from the founding of their new business at Respawn, West and Zampella say -- they've hired "dozens" of employees, but claim the legal costs have now "[exceeded] our combined annual salaries."

It appears the pair would like to resolve the matter quickly, filing these new documents to protest the protracted process: "Any delay of the trial in this lawsuit would increase the financial and non-financial burdens and would continue to distract us from running our business and earning a living," they write.

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