Video Game Industry Files For $644,545 In Attorney’s Fees From State Of Illionois Related To Its Unconstitutional Video Game Sales Law
Washington, D.C. (March 16, 2006) -- The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) today filed a petition in the United States District Court asking it to order the State of Illinois to pay $644,545 in legal fees for its unsuccessful effort to enact a law banning the sale of violent video games in the state.
“From the day Governor Blagojevich announced that he would seek anti-video game legislation, it was clear to everyone that the proposal would be found unconstitutional and would waste taxpayers dollars in a protracted legal fight that would leave parents no better off,” said Douglas Lowenstein, president of the ESA. “That is precisely what happened. As we said from the outset, we would have preferred to spend our resources on cooperative programs to help parents ensure their kids play appropriate games, rather than divert money to respond to politically motivated attacks on video games. But the State has left little choice, and this petition is consistent with the rules of the federal courts regarding award of attorney’s fees to prevailing parties.”
In December, 2005, the United States District Judge for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, handed down a permanent injunction halting the implementation of the new state law that would restrict video game sales. In his decision declaring the law unconstitutional, the Judge Matthew S. Kennelly forcefully sided with the ESA, writing, “If controlling access to allegedly ’dangerous’ speech is important in promoting the positive psychological development of children, in our society that role is properly accorded to parents and families, not the State.”
“We had hoped to reach a settlement without the need to file this petition because we believe it is important to move on, both so Illinois taxpayers know the full cost of this litigation and so we can focus on programs that actually help parents raise their kids safely,” said Lowenstein. “Unfortunately, while it was clear we could agree on the amount of fees to be reimbursed, the state made other demands which we could not accept. Accordingly, consistent with our belief that the public has a right to know how much of their tax dollars were spent defending a statute that everyone knew from the start was unconstitutional, we have proceeded with this filing.”
The ESA is the U.S. association dedicated to serving the business and public affairs needs of the companies publishing interactive games for video game consoles, handheld devices, personal computers, and the Internet. ESA members collectively account for more than 90 percent of the $7 billion in entertainment software sales in the U.S. in 2005, and billions more in export sales of entertainment software. For more information about the ESA, please visit www.theESA.com.
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