Following a brief hiatus in proceedings due to the ongoing safety protocols around the Covid-19 outbreak, the important dates in the ongoing lawsuits between streamer James ‘Phantoml0rd’ Varga and Twitch have now been agreed upon and submitted to court.
Documents signed by Judge Karnow of the Superior Court of California show that a trial date has been set for October 19th of this year.
The road leading to trial has been a long one. Varga was banned from the streaming platform in July 2016 following Skype logs being leaked to the public that showed he owned and ran the CS:GO skins gambling site CSGOShuffle that he would broadcast his playing sessions of. His involvement with the site had never been disclosed.
The same logs also showed an overwhelming amount of detailed discussion about the workings of the site and him conspiring with the coder to place favorable bets with foreknowledge of the outcome. Twitch, as is in line with its policy, has never publicly issued a statement as to the reason for his ban.
Varga brought the suit against Twitch on February 14, 2018, with Twitch then filing a cross-complaint against the gaming personality. Varga’s counsel have argued that Twitch violated a number of contractual agreements and that in banning him from the platform, and making him a “scapegoat” they had caused his brand irreparable harm for which he must be compensated.
Twitch’s counter-complaint claimed Varga’s actions had caused their platform reputational damage and that he had breached the covenant of good faith by utilizing their platform for what they view as potentially nefarious purposes.
A large part of the reason that it took so long to get to trial was the legal maneuvering around a clause in the contract between Varga and Twitch, one that if upheld would have capped his potential damages at just $50,000, well below the amount of $35 million that Varga himself has said he is seeking.
In December last year, the court ruled that the clause was substantively unconscionable with the judge stating that “from a practical point of view… limiting recovery to $50,000 virtually kills off the odds of a suit against Twitch at all. The agreement doesn’t appear to have an attorney fees clause, and few – if any – lawyers would take on a contingency case against Twitch for some reasonable percentage of $50,000. The cap is unconscionable.”
Even with the trial date set there are still set to be a lot of important arguments made before the trial begins. Twitch is poised to submit a motion for summary judgment any day now, with opposition to any motions set to be issued on August 17th. Depending on the rulings on those the trial could take on a very different complexion.
That motion for summary judgment is set to be sizeable. Twitch had to file a motion to request an extension to the document that under normal circumstances would be limited to just 20 pages under California’s rules of court 3.1113(d). It has now been approved that it can be extended to 25 pages to enable Twitch to make sufficient arguments around their requests.
Dexerto will update you as the matter proceeds.