Stardock Lawsuits Dropped, Ex-Employee Apologizes

Stardock Lawsuits Dropped, Ex-Employee Apologizes

Two lawsuits involving the gaming studio Stardock have been settled. As part of the settlement, the ex-employee participating in both suits has written a letter apologising to the studio for her involvement.

The first lawsuit, filed by Alexandra Miseta against Stardock CEO Brad Wardell in December of 2010, alleged that Wardell sexually harassed Miseta and that there was a "hostile work environment" at the company. That lawsuit was dismissed yesterday.

The second lawsuit, filed by Wardell against Miseta in August of 2012, alleged that Miseta stole a laptop and deleted company documents when she left Stardock two years earlier. That lawsuit was dismissed on Friday, September 20.

Both lawsuits were dismissed as part of a settlement agreed to by Wardell and Miseta. One condition of the settlement was that Miseta draft up this letter of apology, sent to Kotaku by Wardell:

Stardock Lawsuits Dropped, Ex-Employee Apologizes

When contacted by Kotaku, neither Miseta nor her lawyer would comment for this story.

In a conversation this morning with Kotaku, Wardell said he was glad to put the legal mess behind him and that he agreed to settle with Miseta for the sake of "vindication".

"Essentially, we agreed to dismiss each other's cases -- to drop our cases -- in exchange for her apologising to us," Wardell said. "Once we've received that, we feel vindicated."

No money was exchanged in the settlement, Wardell said, although he would not go into specifics about the allegations -- "I think her letter kinda speaks for itself on that," he said.

In her suit, Miseta alleged that Wardell had sent inappropriate e-mails to her, including a link to a sexually-explicit online "purity test" that Wardell today says was "spam." The suit also alleged that Miseta "was subjected to repeated and near-daily comments, innuendos, advances, and other offensive conduct of a sexual nature" by Wardell.

Wardell's suit, meanwhile, alleges that when Miseta left, she stole a laptop and destroyed "various data and other intellectual property" owned by Stardock. Last year, Miseta's lawyers claimed that this suit was filed in retaliation for her allegations of sexual harassment, but Wardell denies that, telling Kotaku that both suits were originally filed around the same time, but that his suit against Miseta was delayed to August, 2012 as he decided to move it to federal court.

Both lawsuits were dismissed with prejudice, meaning they cannot be opened again.

"[We] were willing to go to trial," Wardell said in an e-mail. "However, we believe her apology for having filed a lawsuit against us and for deleting our marketing assets was sufficient to justify letting this matter go. Hopefully, when people read something ugly about someone in the Internet they'll be a bit more likely to reserve judgment. This was a difficult time for everyone involved. We hold no animus towards her and do not want to see her put into a bad light."

Top picture: concept art from Stardock's Elemental: Fallen Enchantress


    “was subjected to repeated and near-daily comments, innuendos, advances, and other offensive conduct of a sexual nature”

    With the exception of the strikeout, girls at work do this to me as well. My care factor is null and I don't see the problem.

    (Edit: Man, I hate HTML-like markup used on websites when it isn't HTML. It messes with my jive, man.)

    Last edited 25/09/13 8:56 am

      That's how you may deal with it, not other people. If it's perceived or otherwise, harassment has to be dealt with before it gets out of hand and ends up in lawsuits etc.

      So, XML then?

        What I meant was, S here is "Spoiler", but in actual HTML, it's strikeout. So initially, my "advances" was a spoiler instead of a strike.

        Other examples being Q for quote instead of Blockquote etc.

      Congratulations on being able to not be upset by something offensive to others. It makes life happier and easier for you, so that's awesome.

      Your ability to do so does not strip others of the right to be offended by bad behaviour.

        I find that amount of soap boxing offensive... Please desist.

          I find complaints about my soapboxing offensive. I am considering legal action.

    Who wants to bet they BOTH had a solid case and figured out that the resultant payouts and stains to reputation would result in Mutually Assured (career) Destruction?

    Two wrongs don't make a right. She might've got money out of the harassment suit, but then he'd have pressed ahead and she'd have wilful destruction/theft of company IP on her resume. He might've got money out of the damages (to reduce the cost of the harassment suit), but also be branded with the stigma of harassment.

    On the basis that 'forget about it' would actually leave both parties better off in terms of damage to careers and bank balances, it was probably the safer option to nod warily at each other and back away. Guessing the damage to her would've been greater than to him, so she drew the short straw on public apology.

    Just an aside... the Stardock "Fences" plugin for Windows.. bloody marvelous! My desktop was covered in icons.. but now.. no more :)

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