Activision Blizzard lawsuit objection reveals possible DFEH conflict of interest

Two lawyers who w EEOC on a recent settlement with Activision Blizzard are also involved in the DFEH lawsuit against it.

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A major turn has taken place in regards to the California lawsuit against Activision Blizzard, and it may have just put legal ammunition in Acti-Blizz’s corner. It turns out that lawyers that were involved in investigations that aided the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in a recent settlement with Activision Blizzard may also be leading the Department for Employment and Housing (DFEH) lawsuit currently running against Activision Blizzard. This relationship may result in a conflict of interest and violation of California law practice, requiring the entire DFEH counsel on the lawsuit to be replaced.

This rather hefty revelation came about as the EEOC’s response to a DFEH objection to the recent $18 million settlement, as recently reported by PC Gamer. It began with the DFEH objecting to the settlement on the grounds that it may seal away evidence crucial to the DFEH’s ongoing lawsuit and case against Activision Blizzard. To this, the EEOC responded with a memorandum that included the fact that two leading lawyers who are working on the DFEH’s Activision Blizzard lawsuit also worked for the EEOC and investigated claims that aided it in reaching its settlement with Acti-Blizz – the very same settlement to which they are objecting.

In particular, a disclosed phone call between the EEOC and DFEH seems to indicate that the latter recognized the issue of a potential conflict of interest in its lawsuit against Activision Blizzard.
In particular, a disclosed phone call between the EEOC and DFEH seems to indicate that the latter recognized the issue of a potential conflict of interest in its lawsuit against Activision Blizzard.

What’s worse, the DFEH seems to have been aware of this issue and tried to muddle the matter in its recent activities. When this potential conflict of interest was brought up in a call between the DFEH and EEOC, the two lawyers in question apparently left the call altogether. After the conflict was pointed out, the DFEH apparently shuffled legal counsel associated with the objection to the EEOC settlement, but the EEOC is unconvinced that is enough and the presence of these two lawyers may have tainted the lawsuit beyond the objection.

As things stand, if the EEOC is correct in its revealings in said memorandum, it would be a violation of California ethics in law. As such, it could result in the need for the replacement of the entire legal counsel with a team that is entirely untouched by the prior team’s decisions and direction. It could also give Activision Blizzard the opening it needs to fight back against said lawsuit. There could also be a surprise decision by a judge to uphold the DFEH’s objection and intervention into the EEOC’s settlement or any number of other outcomes.

Whatever ends up happening, the California lawsuit against Activision Blizzard just became a much bigger mess. Stay tuned as we continue to follow the latest on the lawsuit and Activision Blizzard’s actions in regards to it.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at tj.denzer@shacknews.com and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

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