After this morning’s news that former Rockstar North president Leslie Benzies is seeking compensation from the company via a lawsuit, it emerges that Take-Two are counter-suing.
The basis for Benzies’ lawsuit is his belief that he is owed royalty payments after being forced out of the company by the Houser brothers, and is seeking reparations to the tune of $150 million USD.
It emerges that Rockstar and Take-Two have launched a ten page counter-suit, which can be read here, in which they claim to have ” sought unsuccessfully to resolve this issue through mediation and now seek judicial clarification that would resolve this controversy.” According to Take-Two and Rockstar’s side of the story, Benzies resigned without ‘Good Reason’ (capitalised because in this context it’s contract terminology with a specific meaning) and is therefore not entitled to his royalty payments.
In other words, it’s very messy, and may end up resting on the specific wordings of various contracts, royalty plans, and internal Rockstar corporate rules.
Alongside “judicial clarification” on the Benzies royalty payments, Take-Two and Rockstar are seeking “compensatory damages against Benzies in an amount to be determined at trial”. This appears to be in order to cover legal fees, expenses, and other costs incurred by a lawsuit.
Rockstar issued the following statement:
“Leslie Benzies was a valued employee of our company for many years. Sadly, the events that culminated in his resignation ultimately stem from his significant performance and conduct issues. Despite our repeated efforts to address and resolve these issues amicably both before and after his departure, Leslie has chosen to take this route in an attempt to set aside contract terms to which he previously agreed on multiple occasions. His claims are entirely without merit and in many instances downright bizarre, and we are very confident this matter will be resolved in our favor. A core ethos since Rockstar’s inception has been the concept of “the team”. It is deeply disappointing and simply wrong for Leslie to attempt to take personal credit for what has always been the tremendous efforts of the entire Rockstar team, who remain hard at work delivering the most immersive and engaging entertainment experiences we can for our fans.
“We do not intend to comment further on this matter.”