Judge dismisses fraud claim in West and Zampella lawsuit

A Los Angeles State Superior Court Judge has dismissed one of two fraud charges brought against Activision by former Infinity Ward heads Jason West and Vincent Zampella.

West and Zampella, ex-president and CEO of the Call Of Duty developer respectively, filed a lawsuit against Activision in 2010 citing breach of contract and wrongful dismissal after the pair’s positions were abruptly terminated.

Last April, West and Zampella added two counts of fraud to their complaint against Activision, stating that the publisher never intended to honour a contract drawn up to address issues of concern the pair held about creative authority over the Modern Warfare games and promised bonus payments.

According to a Bloomberg report, Activision will no longer have to answer a fraudulent-inducement claim, although Judge Elihu Berle let stand a claim for promissory fraud brought against the publisher.

Activision maintains West and Zampella were fired because of secret talks they held with Electronic Arts about setting up a new development studio. The publisher named EA in a December 2010 cross-complaint, alleging that its rival actively courted the duo while they were still employed by Activision, and seeking $400 million in damages. West and Zampella subsequently formed a new studio, Respawn Entertainment, and signed a publishing deal with EA.

38 current and former Infinity Ward employees have also sued Activision over alleged unpaid bonuses and royalties for Modern Warfare 2, and their complaint has been consolidated with West and Zampella's case. A trial on all remaining claims is scheduled for May 7.