After what the LA Times describes as a “brawl” between Activision Blizzard boss Bobby Kotick and Californian lawyer Patricia Glaser, the outspoken games executive has emerged on the losing side of a three-year court battle.
In 2007 a flight attendant named Cynthia Madvig filed a lawsuit in the LA County Superior Court against three men – Kotick, Goldman Sachs’ LA boss Andrew Gordon and a pilot named Phil Berg.
The allegations involved claims that Berg has pressured Madvig to act as a chaperone on a number of social outings. When she refused, Berg set out “to make life miserable for her”, a tirade that resulted in her sacking at the hands of Kotick.
Shortly after she filed a suit claiming sexual harassment, wrongful termination, failure to prevent sexual harassment and retaliation – claims that were all denied.
Patricia Glaser’s legal firm was hired to defend the trio. She advised Kotick that a settlement could be reached for between $200k-$400k, but “Kotick believed no sexual harassment or retaliation had taken place and it was important to vindicate the principle even if it would be very expensive in terms of legal fees”.
The pair eventually fell out and by the end of 2007 they were no longer working together. Though Kotick and his defendants settled their case with Madvig at the cost of $675k in April 2008, a dispute over legal fees owed to Glaser has rumbled on.
In March 2009 an arbitrator ordered that fees of $1.42m should be paid to Glaser. After a string of appeals, the Californian Court of Appeal ruled on July 6th 2010 against Kotick, Gordon and Berg.
As part of the arbitration, it was claimed that in the original dispute: “Mr. Kotick wanted to destroy the other side and not to pay Ms. Madvig anything. Mr. Kotick realised this was not a good business proposition, but said that he was worth one-half billion dollars and he didn’t mind spending some of it on attorneys’ fees.
“Mr. Kotick said he would not be extorted and that he would ruin the Plaintiff and her attorney and see to it that Ms. Madvig would never work again.”
Activision Blizzard was not named in the dispute.