May 20th, 2008 by Benjamin Duranske
Plaintiff Antonio Hernandez yesterday filed a motion seeking class certification in his suit against against virtual property dealer Internet Gaming Entertainment for its activities in World of Warcraft. This is a critical filing, as the judge’s decision will determine whether the case includes millions of World of Warcraft users, or just Mr. Hernandez.
- Motion for Class Certification (.pdf)
- Memorandum in Support of Motion for Class Certification (.pdf)
From the filing:
This consumer fraud action arises from a fraudulent scheme and conspiracy to reap substantial profits by knowingly interfering with, and substantially impairing and diminishing the intended use and enjoyment associated with consumer agreements between Blizzard Entertainment and subscribers to its virtual world called World of Warcraft®.
Specifically, over the past several years, Defendant IGE U.S., by and through its employees, agents and affiliates, some of whom work in deplorable conditions in third world countries, has engaged in the deliberate selling of World of Warcraft® virtual property or currency (commonly referred to as “gold”) through eBay or other industry websites. IGE U.S.’s practice is known as “gold farming,” “real money trade” or “RMT,” and it is expressly prohibited by Blizzard Entertainment’s EULA and TOU to which all World of Warcraft® Subscribers agree.
IGE will oppose this motion, the court may take oral argument, and the court will then decide whether the class gets certified.
There aren’t too many surprises in this filing, though it is notable that the memorandum focuses largely on the consumer fraud claim. This is presumably because the plaintiff believes that claim will resonate with the court to a greater degree than the underlying contract claim — particularly at this stage in the case, because class certification of consumer fraud claims is fairly common.
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