Legal Fees Amounting to $1.1 Million Asked by Video Game Groups
On 09.08.11, In Legal Industry, by Blake Houser
A huge victory at the Supreme Court is not priceless, after all, and may cost around $1,144,602.64.
This is what was spent by the video game industry in persuading the court that the law in California that bans the sale or rental to minors of violent video games is in violation of the First Amendment. The industry this week asked the court to order the state to pay the case’s legal cost, most of which were paid to the law firm of Jenner & Block.
Two industry trade groups, the Entertainment Software Association and the Entertainment Merchants Association, depended on civil rights laws as their basis in asking for fees. In such cases, federal law permits the prevailing party to collect their expenses from the losing side.
According to the motion in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, the industry “vindicated important First Amendment rights and enjoined enforcement of an unconstitutional law.”
The court, in a 7 to 2 ruling, voted to strike the law down, with Justice Antonin Scalia stating that the U.S. Constitution does not give a particular state a “free-floating power to restrict the ideas to which children may be exposed.”
For his part, Christian Genetski, the general counsel of the trade group, said, “We certainly feel it’s unfortunate that California taxpayers are suffering the consequences of the state’s decision to pass the law.” He said that the industry had cautioned then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger about signing the legislation since every court that had a chance to look at similar laws had found them unconstitutional.
When the parties won at the District Court level, they received $276,000, plus interest, from the state, as well as $94,000 at the appeals court. A spokeswoman told reporters that California Attorney General Kamala Harris did not have any comment on the motion.