In April of 2009, Rockstar Games settled out of court
with with "over 100" Rockstar San Diego employees to the tune of $2.75 million (approximately $27,500 per person). The case, "Garrett Flynn, et al. v. Angel Studios, Inc./Rockstar Games et al.," was filed on August 21, 2006, by ex-Rockstar San Diego 3D artists Terri-Kim Chuckry and Garrett Flynn on behalf of themselves and fellow 3D artists, alleging that Angel Studios/Rockstar San Diego had "failed to pay overtime compensation ... to certain Angel employees whose primary duties are or were to create, produce, copy and/or install images into video games, using commercial or in-house software computer programs."
Sound familiar? That's likely due to the past week's barrage
of Rockstar Games employees speaking out
against alleged quality of life issues at the developer's various studios, including claims of "numerous non-exempt designers and artists have had their overtime pay cut as a result for being 'too senior.'"
In a press release issued after the settlement, Rockstar Games refuted the lawsuit's claims. "Angel denies the allegations in the lawsuit and admits no liability or wrongdoing in settlement." The settlement document (obtained earlier today by Joystiq) also spells out Rockstar's reasons for settling the suit, saying "further litigation would be protracted and expensive for all parties." Unsurprisingly, the company also contested in the settlement that a ruling against it was "relatively unlikely" for a number of reasons.
That said, when a multi-billion dollar corporation settles a suit with its employees out of court and
awards them nearly $3 million in compensation, that's quite a statement unto itself -- regardless of the great lengths at which the final court settlement goes to deny that claim. We've contacted Rockstar Games for comment and haven't heard back as of publishing.