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Rhode Island bill aims to encourage 38 Studios suit settlement

by Steve Watts, Jan 10, 2014 9:30am PST

Legislation brought before the Rhode Island General Assembly on Wednesday is meant to ease the road towards a settlement in the state's ongoing lawsuit against 38 Studios founder Curt Schilling and others involved with the company. The bill was proposed by the administration of Governor Chafee, who has personally been critical of Schilling's handling of the company as the drama unfolded.

The proposal, reported by The Providence Journal (via Polygon), invokes a portion of the state's general laws on court-approved settlements, which states that if a person has resolved a liability with the state in a good-faith settlement, it is "not liable for claims for contribution or equitable indemnity regarding matters addressed in the settlement." It applies this new language exclusively to the 38 Studios bond that was intended to create jobs in the state, likely as a measure to make sure other companies don't attempt to take advantage of the same deal.

The bill is aimed at encouraging a settlement by making it more attractive for the defendants. House Judiciary Chairwoman Edith Ajello said, "The bill makes it clear that the credit to the non-settling defendants is limited to the amount of money paid by the settling defendants. It eliminates the uncertainty of determining what the percentage of fault is among all the defendants, which may not be determined for many years in the event of a jury trial."

This could bring a final resolution to the lawsuit against Schilling and 13 other defendants, which attempts to recoup a $75 million loan guarantee to the now defunct 38 Studios. The suit alleges fraud, negligence, and breach of fiduciary duty.

Most recently, Rhode Island held an auction to recoup funds by selling off 38 Studios property. Though the sales did raise $320,000 for a few properties on top of $1 million in office equipment, the rights to Kingdoms of Amalur and its spin-off MMO Project Copernicus went unsold. Rhode Island plans to speak individually to interested parties to negotiate a sale of those.





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