Epic Moves for Dismissal of Young Gamers’ Suit Following Final Approval of State Court Settlement

A motion filed by Epic Games Inc. on Tuesday sought dismissal of a consumer protection suit currently stayed in the Northern District of California and brought on behalf of minors who purchased virtual items using real currency in Epic’s popular Fortnite and Rocket League games. The unopposed motion was filed after another nationwide class action settlement for more than $26.5 million became effective on Monday. 

The February 2021 case alleged that Epic Games’ sales and marketing practices violated California consumer protection statutes and that the minor plaintiffs should be able to disaffirm their purchases and receive a full refund. Specifically, the class action took issue with how Epic allegedly pushed minors to use real money for in-game purchases for non-refundable virtual currency without parent or guardian involvement.

Epic first moved to stay the case, and during that motion’s pendency, to dismiss, asserting that the plaintiffs lack standing, or, in the alternative, that the claims must be compelled to arbitration. The plaintiffs opposed both.

In April 2021, and before ruling on the dismissal motion, the court stayed the proceeding in view of a North Carolina state court action. Judge Charles R. Breyer renewed the stay six times, most recently in early February. 

Though the settlement in the North Carolina case received preliminary approval last November, it was given the final nod earlier this week after objectors withdrew their appeal.

Now, Epic argues that the case is moot because the plaintiffs have released their claims by operation of the other settlement. The unopposed motion says that plaintiffs are class members, and owing to the Full Faith and Credit Act, the North Carolina judgment approving the nationwide settlement must be honored. As such, the filing asks for dismissal with prejudice.

Epic is represented by Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP and the plaintiffs by One LLP and Bay Advocacy LLP.