The New York Supreme Court has dismissed claims made by ex-Rockstar producer Leslie Benzines in his lawsuit against Take-Two Interactive.
Benzines, who worked on the Grand Theft Auto franchise as well as Manhunt, Red Dead Redemption and LA Noire, is suing for $150 million in royalties and claimed that he had been forced to leave Rockstar after taking a nearly year and a half long sabbatical.
The suit hinges on a long-term contract that Benzines signed with Take-Two following the release of GTA 4 in 2010, which offered a profit sharing incentive scheme that he believed would pay him the same as Rockstar co-founders Sam and Dan Houser.
The Court however, ruled that the contract did not stipulate that the payments had to be equal, and thus further dismissed Benzines’ accusations of unjust enrichment. Unjust enrichment is a phenomenon in contract law where one or more parties benefit at the expense of another. In this case, it seems like Benzines was arguing that Sam and Dan Houser were being given a larger amount of money from the profit sharing scheme to his detriment.
With that said though, with the news that GTA 5 is the most profitable entertainment product of all time there should be enough money to go around. And while the Court dismissed some of Benzines’ claims, they did not dismiss claims from an agreement made in 2012 that stated employees are “entitled to receive certain royalties”.
This is not the only recent lawsuit that Take-Two Interactive have faced in relation to Grand Theft Auto. At the end of March, New York State’s Court of Appeals rejected appeals made by the actor Lindsay Lohan after she sued Rockstar’s parent company over the alleged use of her likeness in GTA 5 and its marketing without asking for her consent.