Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) asked a California federal judge on Thursday to toss a class action brought by retired NFL players who claim the video game maker used their likenesses without permission, arguing the players' claims were barred under the First Amendment.
The 2009 version of the Madden NFL game, which features the likenesses of thousands of retired football players in its historic teams mode, should be afforded the same constitutional protection as a movie or book that uses a person's image, EA said in its motion to dismiss the case.
“If [the plaintiffs] had sued a filmmaker who used their photographs in a documentary about football, or a screenwriter who depicted them as characters in a fictional movie about their teams, the First Amendment would defeat any right-of-publicity claim,” EA argued. “That result does not change simply because EA’s highly creative works are embodied in a different medium.”
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EA is represented by Bob Van Nest, James Slaughter and Adam Lauridsen of Keker & Van Nest LLP.
Bob Van Nest is a nationally recognized trial lawyer who frequently handles high-stakes cases for clients such as Intel, Google, Medtronic, Broadcom, and American Honda. His practice ranges widely over the field of complex business litigation and intellectual property. He has tried cases involving patent infringement, securities fraud, trademarks, commercial contracts, RICO, partnership disputes, real estate, insurance bad faith and mail and wire fraud.
Jamie Slaughter has extensive experience in complex civil and white collar criminal matters. He has successfully represented companies and individuals in breach of contract, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, trade secret, copyright, trademark and right of publicity cases. He has also represented individuals in matters with the Securities and Exchange Commission and Department of Justice, and numerous national law firms in professional negligence cases.
Adam Lauridsen’s practice focuses on complex commercial litigation, including intellectual property, securities, legal malpractice and contract disputes. He has been an active member of the lead trial team in a multi-week, multi-defendant federal trial and has participated in numerous arbitrations and mediations. Mr. Lauridsen has represented individuals in federal courts, state courts and before the Securities and Exchange Commission. His clients have included large corporations, executives of Fortune 500 companies and high-profile individuals.