Take-Two won't be writing out as big a check as we expected to settle a class action lawsuit filed over "Hot Coffee" claims — the Court has issued an opinion on the matter this week, refusing to certify the proposed settlement class. That, according to our friendly neighbourhood legal council, means that the publisher of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas may not have to pay out a proposed $US 1.025 million in settlement benefits, possibly because there was no actual representative class. In short, too few people were offended, or could agree to be offended in the same way, for the Court to see the class as worthy of getting a cool million.
You may recall that in November of last year, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York granted preliminary approval of a settlement of several class action suits against Take-Two. TTWO expected then to pay out up to $US 2.75 million for the settlement, pending Court approval.
Turns out that few actually filed claims. On July 31, the Court said that "the plaintiffs could no longer meet their burden of showing that the case could proceed on the proposed class basis" according to an SEC filing.
Take-Two opts not to weigh in on whether an appeal is likely in the filing, but when a million bucks is offered and folks don't bite — only $US 30,000 in claims were filed — we'd have a hard time believing that one is in the cards. The attorneys involved
already got their paycheck actually haven't yet been paid, at least on the plaintiff side. Makes me feel that much better about never completing "The Guide To Spending Your 'Hot Coffee' Settlement".
Update: Ted Frank from Overlawyered wrote in to clear some things up for us. He writes: "The plaintiffs' attorneys have not gotten their paycheck. My objection was premised on the grounds that the court should not approve a settlement that paid the attorneys so much more than what the class received; when the court rejected the settlement, it meant there was no court approval for a payment to the plaintiffs' attorneys".