Former Cypress Hill singer Michael ‘Shagg’ Washington’s recent litigation against Rockstar and Take-Two Interactive was filed ‘In Forma Pauperis’, meaning the claimant’s legal fees were partially waived by the court.
The action, which was brought by Washington over the alleged use of his likeness in GTA: San Andreas without permission, was filed last Monday, December 6th. In it, Washington is seeking 25 per cent of the profits made by the title.
Washington claims to having been unaware of the game until a recent introduction by a family member, at which point he recalled helping Rockstar with pre-development research.
Questions were raised on internet message boards as to the reasons for the significant delay between the game’s release and the bringing of a legal action, as well as to Washington’s financial situation.
Jas Purewal, lawyer and author of Gamer/Law, explained the significance behind the ‘In Forma Pauperis’ filing.
“The lawsuit does appear to be stamped ‘In Forma Pauperis’, which is a US legal process in which defendants in some circumstances can have some of their legal fees waived because of financial difficulties,” he explained.
“There’s also a stamp just next to it which says ‘Fee Waiver’, which makes it even clearer.”
Take-Two interactive told IGN.com that it would fight the case.
"The Company believes the lawsuit is completely without merit and will vigorously defend itself in the matter," a representative said.