Riot Games’ Proposed $10 M Settlement Withdrawn by New Counsel in Gender Discrimination Suit
February 20, 2020 — by Patrick Hanley for The Hollywood Reporter
In December, the video game studio reached the settlement with former female employees alleging gender discrimination and harassment, but new legal counsel is seeking more.
Riot Games’ legal woes continue as, on Thursday evening, new legal counsel representing former female employees involved in a class action lawsuit alleging discrimination and sexual harassment against the company opposed December’s preliminary settlement of $10 million.
The settlement was first revealed in August. Plaintiffs Melanie McCracken and Jessica Negron, who filed the initial suit, both were to be rewarded between $10,000-$20,000 as part of the settlement announced in December.
Citing “alleged mistakes and improprieties by prior class counsel” made by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) and the Department of Labor Standards & Enforcement (DLSE), class representatives hired new legal counsel in women’s rights attorney Genie Harrison, in partnership with employment lawyer Joseph Lovretovich, to replace prior legal counsel Rosen & Saba, LLP. The substitution was made in late January.
The DFEH and DLSE revealed their opposition to the settlement in January, with the DFEH claiming the decision had been “rushed and that violations that could amount up to an additional $390 million in damages.”
In December, attorney Ryan Saba of Rosen & Saba, LLP called the settlement one of the “largest settlements in the State of California history for gender inequality,” and said it “shows that Riot is serious about changing the culture at the company.”
Harrison and Lovretovich withdrew the motion to approve the settlement and are currently obtaining “expert analysis of the alleged pay disparities for the women of Riot Games.”
“These brave women spoke out against gender inequality and sexism, and I want to make sure they are fairly compensated,” said Harrison. “Our well-qualified statisticians are already analyzing pay data. We intend to recover the compensation due to the women of Riot Games and achieve institutional reform, in order to level the playing field for women.”
“We don’t step into these types of cases lightly, but where questions of fairness and justice are at stake, we want to ensure these class representatives are getting the justice they seek,” said Lovretovich.
Riot Games did not immediately respond to a request for comment.