After finding an Illinois video game regulation bill unconstitutional, the U.S. District Court ordered the the state to pay plaintiffs more than half a million dollars in attorney fees.
Last December the U.S. District Court struck down an Illinois law that provided for fines of up to $5,000 for selling violent or sexually explicit video games to minors. The same Court has now ordered the State of Illinois to pay $510,528.64 in attorney’s fees to the plaintiffs, which include the Entertainment Software Association, the Video Software Dealers Association and the Illinois Retail Merchants Association.
Illinois senator John Cullerton, who opposed the bill from the beginning, noted that the half-million dollar figure does not include additional fees the state will have to pay its own lawyers. Quoted in an ESA press release, he remarked “I am very disappointed that the State of Illinois has to pay these fees for what was such a clearly unconstitutional law from the start.”
The Illinois bill is one of several video game regulation laws overturned in federal court in recent years. The courts, citing First Amendment rights, have consistently ruled in favor of industry plaintiffs in such cases.
ESA president Doug Lowenstein commented, “As we said from the outset of this debacle and repeatedly since then, instead of squandering taxpayers’ money on frivolous lawsuits and attempting to enact clearly unconstitutional laws, we encourage policymakers to focus their resources on a cooperative effort with industry, retailers, parent groups and health groups to work together to educate parents about the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) ratings and content descriptors, and the parental controls available in all next generation consoles to help parents make sound choices about the games their kids play.”