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Activision CEO Bobby Kotick Loses Lengthy Legal Battle

| 2 Aug 2010 20:04
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Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has lost a nasty, drawn-out battle with his former lawyer over fees incurred during another legal tussle with a former flight attendant on his private jet.

This one's a bit tricky at first blush, so try to keep up. Back in 2007, flight attendant Cynthia Madvig sued Kotick, Andrew Gordon of Goldman Sachs & Co., Cove Management, the company the pair founded to manage their co-owned Gulfstream III private jet, and pilot Phil Berg over allegations of sexual harassment, wrongful termination and other charges. The complaint stemmed from Berg's inappropriate behavior after Madvig refused to be his "arm candy" at dinners and other events during layovers; Madvig claimed that she reported Berg to Gordon but got no response, and then two months later was fired by Kotick, who allegedly told her, "The guys are unhappy with the hostile environment."

Madvig launched her lawsuit against the trio (Activision Blizzard was not named in the action) in January 2007 and while Patricia Glaser of the law firm Christensen, Glaser, Fink, Jacobs, Weil & Shapiro advised him that he could settle the suit for $200,000 to $400,000, substantially less than the legal fees that would result from a protracted battle, Kotick decided that he would rather scorch the Earth, allegedly saying "that he was worth one-half billion dollars and he didn't mind spending some of it on attorneys' fees."

But apparently he did mind, at least a little bit, because in September of that year, Kotick sent his lawyers a check for $200,000, accompanied by a letter stating that it was payment in full for services rendered. Glaser, however, claimed the firm was owed just over $1 million. By December, the firm had severed its relationship with Kotick and his fellows, and the dispute was on its way to arbitration.

In March 2009, Kotick lost: An arbitrator awarded Glaser's firm (apparently now known as Christensen, Glaser) a little more than $1.4 million. Kotick's new attorneys later asked a California court to reduce the award, which was denied; they then took the matter to the California Court of Appeal but that didn't work out either, as on July 6 a panel of judges once again affirmed the original ruling. Kotick is now "reviewing his options," according to his attorney.

In a mind-bendingly ironic twist, Kotick and company did eventually settle the case with Madvig, forking over $200,000 in April 2008 - the low end of the range originally suggested by Glaser - plus another $475,000 in legal fees.

Source: Los Angeles Times

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