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Ex-GTA producer gets setback in lawsuit of $150 million against Take-Two


Leslie Benzies, a former producer on the Grand Theft Auto game series, has been hit by a setback in his $150 million lawsuit against the publisher of Grand Theft Auto 5, Take-Two Interactive.

The profit sharing agreement Benzies signed with Take-Two Interactive, as ruled by the New York Supreme Court, does not entitle him to the amount he believed it did and is unambiguous. Benzies signed the agreement in 2009 when, in recognition of his work, he was made a Rockstar Principle.

The lawsuit stems from the fact that Benzies says he was forced to leave the company after a 17 month sabbatical he took after the launch of Grand Theft Auto 5. In the lawsuit Benzies argues that he hasn’t received as much from the profit-sharing scheme as Rockstar Games Co-founders Dan and Sam Houser have, and that their increased shares came at his expense.

The New York Supreme Court ruled that the profit-sharing agreement “contains no language mandating equal payments to the principals”, and simply provides for, “discretionary royalty payments”. However, the court also ruled that Benzies is still entitled to certain royalties which he has not yet received as part of the profit-sharing agreement.

The lawsuit also argues that a breach in the 2012 Employment Agreement has been made due to stock and salary withheld from Benzies. With sales revenues of $6 billion and over 90 million copies sold Grand Theft Auto 5 has grown to become the most financially successful media title of all time. Clearly Benzies believes he hasn’t been given his fair share of these profits, and from the outside it would seem as if there is more than enough to go around.

Grand Theft Auto 5 initially released in 2013 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, with the online component, Grand Theft Auto Online, launching soon after. Since then the game has released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and even PC, with the online mode continuing to bring in millions of dollars each year from recurrent consumer spending. Even with a new open world game on the horizon from Rockstar Games, fans show no signs of tiring of Grand Theft Auto 5 or its online content any time soon.

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