California Slapped with Legal Fees for Failed Supreme Court Case

Greg Tito

PR for Dungeons & Dragons
Sep 29, 2005
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California Slapped with Legal Fees for Failed Supreme Court Case



The Supreme Court ruled the State of California must pay all legal fees associated with the failed case.

Remember when the Supreme Court ruled last year [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/111300-Supreme-Court-Rules-in-Favor-of-Videogames] that videogames were protected by the First Amendment and could not be regulated based on "mature" content? The case was a landmark victory for the rights of the industry, and the ramifications of the ruling will be felt for years to come as games become a bigger part of our culture. One of the short term benefits of the ruling is a big wad of cash. The Supreme Court today said that the failed lawsuit brought by then Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger and State Representative Leland Yee was so wrong that the State of California must pay for all legal fees associated with the case. The $950,000 in lawyer's fees must be paid from California's budget, which when added to the two previous defeated suits in lower courts, amounts to a total payment of $1,327,000 to the Electronic Software Association. The ESA plans to donate part of that sum to fund after-school education in the Bay Area of San Francisco.

"Senator Yee and Governor Schwarzenegger wasted more than $1 million in taxpayer funds at a time when Californians could ill afford it," said Michael D. Gallagher, president of the ESA. "However, we feel strongly that some of these funds should be used to improve services for California's youth."

While I applaud the noble goal of donating some of the funds for a good purpose rather than just lording over the money - a brilliant PR move by the ESA, by the way - that's not really the point. The ESA's statement pulls no punches by stating that all of the money wasted could have gone to fixing the economic woes of the state instead of attacking an industry that contributes $2.1 billion to California's economy.

"Entertainment software companies directly and indirectly employ nearly 53,000 Californians with an average salary of more than $97,000 per year at 267 facilities," the statement read. That is significant, and our government should be working to foster such industry instead of trying to unlawfully regulate the content of a small number of videogames.

Covering game-related news is an endless pursuit and we sometimes lose perspective on cultural issues that really matter when reading and watching all we can about the latest titles, so it's understandable that we have moved on from remarking on the Supreme Court decision. Still, it is refreshing to be reminded just how important Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association was as a giant leap in the maturation of the gaming medium. And given how our pastime is besmirched in the mainstream media time and time again, we gamers are entitled to a bit of smugness as the ESA collects the wasted fees.

Hell, even a few "I told you so"s and "Na na nee, poo poo!" are in order.

Read the story of what it felt like to be in the courtroom when the oral arguments of Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association was heard on November 2nd 2010. [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/issues/issue_281/8356-Battlefield-Washington]

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Epona

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I don't care about anything the ESA has to say.
 
Feb 13, 2008
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On one hand, the SOPA supporters.
On the other hand, the SOPA supporters.

I'd be a lot happier if Yee and Schwarzenegger had to personally pay those fees, and ALL of the money went back to the Californian taxpayers.

He'll be back though.
 

DTWolfwood

Better than Vash!
Oct 20, 2009
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so i take it the taxpayers will now be paying the ESA after the taxpayers paid to sue them...

y is it the Governator and mrYee get off scot-free here?

p.s. heres hoping they get thrown out of office in the next election.
 

weirdee

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Apr 11, 2011
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One could also argue that the ESA has better things to do than try to DESTROY THE FABRIC OF EXISTENCE but that's another story, right?
 

emeraldrafael

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Jul 17, 2010
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Im gonna guess that the public will probably see 30% of that money in donations, another 20-25% will go into supporting SOPA like bills to become law, and the rest will just go for the people at the ESA to piss around with.
 

Something Amyss

Aswyng and Amyss
Dec 3, 2008
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The ESA did something marginally decent, and that's nothing to be sneezed at. Kinda tainted by the fact that they're only giving back after taking it....

DVS BSTrD said:
So when will the ESA have to pay back all the money it spent on lobbying to get SOPA passed?
The_root_of_all_evil said:
On one hand, the SOPA supporters.
On the other hand, the SOPA supporters.

I'd be a lot happier if Yee and Schwarzenegger had to personally pay those fees, and ALL of the money went back to the Californian taxpayers.

He'll be back though.
Yeah he really gave the State a Raw Deal.
Problem is, next term he'll be Running, Man.
 

oldtaku

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Jan 7, 2011
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If there are two things California government loves they are:

1) Wasting money.

2) If it is not mandatory it is forbidden.
 

Something Amyss

Aswyng and Amyss
Dec 3, 2008
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DVS BSTrD said:
I have a feeling the Schwarzenegger administration will suffer a Total Recall.
I'd like to think this was the End of Days for his administration, but a few True Lies and California will vote for him like the girly men they are.
 

FalloutJack

Bah weep grah nah neep ninny bom
Nov 20, 2008
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Movie jokes aside, let's see here... Who wants to try and shove them both into a ring so they can eat each other alive?
 

Kapol

Watch the spinning tails...
May 2, 2010
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Honestly, this isn't really a good thing that will teach Yee much of a lesson. The money is coming from the state, which means that the only people really suffering from the failure are the people in the state. And giving back 'some' of the money could mean anything. Whatever they don't give back will be used to protect their interests, be that SOPA-type bills or fighting against laws that will hurt them in the short-term. (I mentioned in the short-term as SOPA-type bills would likely be worse for the companies they represent in the long run)
 

Sandytimeman

Brain Freeze...yay!
Jan 14, 2011
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oh yay, tax payer money going to a group trying to bribe government officials. The ESA DOES NOT have my support anymore.
 

Baresark

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Dec 19, 2010
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Leeland Yee is a total toolbag. You should have made him pay out of pocket. I have to say though, it's unfair to put it on the backs of the tax payers. It's not their fault the California State Government is out of control, and if you think it is, you just don't know how government actually works.