1:44pm PT by Eriq Gardner
Judge: Beyoncé Video Game Lawsuit Can Move Forward
Beyoncé won't be shaking a multi-million dollar lawsuit that alleges she walked away from a deal to create a motion-sensing dance video game based on her moves. A New York Superior Court judge denied Tuesday the singer's motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by video game developer Gate Five.
The suit was filed in April and claims that the pop star "double crossed" the video company on a "whim" by abandoning development of a dance game that was to be called Starpower: Beyoncé. Gate Five had purportedly spent $6.7 million on the game before the singer demanded more compensation to move forward. Her requests allegedly caused the financier to back out of a $19.2 million financing deal, and Gate Five said it needed to lay off 70 people from its workforce a week before last Christmas.
Beyoncé retorted that she had a valid right to exercise the termination provisions of her contract after the plaintiff was unable to fulfill contractual obligations to obtain $5 million of "committed financing" for the project. The singer's attorneys put some of the blame on Gate Five's chief financial backer and quoted Gate Five's president, who purportedly found this person to be "overbearing" and someone who had "entered the picture and ended up disturbing the collaborative atmosphere" between the parties.
Gate Five said that the concerns about financing were "disingenuous."
According to one court brief filed by the company, Beyoncé could not have had any legitimate concern about a supposed lack of $5 million in financing because, when she terminated, Gate Five was on the eve of closing a $19.2 million financing contract.
Attorneys for Beyoncé urged the judge to take a plain reading of the contract, and Gate Five's side argued that the doctrine of prevention barred her from relying on the "lack of financing" excuse because that only happened due to her own conduct. Additionally, the video game company said the doctrine of estoppel applied because Gate Five had relied to its detriment on her assurances that a November 15th deadline for securing the funds was immaterial.
Without any written explanation, New York Superior Court judge Charles Ramos rejected Beyoncé's motion to dismiss the lawsuit on Tuesday. The move means that discovery in the case can move forward, including a possible deposition of the singer.
Gate Five is seeking big damages in this lawsuit. According to the company's complaint, the Starpower: Beyoncé video game was expected to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in profit for Gate Five. The company is also seeking an injunction that would prevent the singer from working on any other video games.