Activision Blizzard is suing Netflix over the alleged poaching of its former CFO, Spencer Neumann.
The suit, which was filed this week in a California court according to Hollywood Reporter, claims that Netflix of poached Neumann just 18 months into his time at Activision Blizzard, and accuses the company of “intentional interference with contract, unfair competition, and aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty.”
The suit claims that Neumann was hired under contract to serve as the company’s CFO until at least April 2020, with an option of the company retaining him for an additional year. Activision Blizzard claims that Netflix attempted to recruit Neumann before his contract was up.
The filing claims that not only was Netflix aware of the details of the contract, but even offered to pay the CFO’s legal fees if he got sued over breach of contract.
Neumann left Activision Blizzard in December 2018, and joined Netflix the following month.
Activision Blizzard is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, as well as a permanent injunction barring Netflix from soliciting its employees who are under contract.
“Netflix’s unlawful behavior with regards to Neumann is no anomaly,” said attorney Daniel Petrocelli of O’Melveny & Myers in the complaint. “To the contrary, Netflix has a demonstrated pattern of caring only about attracting and employing whoever Netflix wants, regardless of whether it violates the law along the way.”
Neumann was certainly not the last person to leave Activision Blizzard, however. The company has been going through rounds of layoffs, and an anonymous source told MCV/DEVELOP that more layoffs are on the way.