NEW YORK – A federal judge refused a request from Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (TTWO) to immediately dismiss some claims in a lawsuit accusing it of selling "Grand Theft Auto" video games containing sexually explicit images under the wrong content label.
The lawsuit filed in July 2005 seeking class-action status, said Take-Two's alleged misconduct violated consumer protection laws in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Since then a number of cases making the same claim were consolidated in Manhattan federal court.
Take-Two and its subsidiary, Rockstar Games Inc., had argued in its motion to dismiss parts of the lawsuit that the plaintiffs could only file claims in the states where they resided, not all 50 states.
But U.S. District Judge Shirley Wohl Kram denied Take-Two's motion and said she would reconsider if class-action status were granted in the case.
"If class certification is granted, the court will have the benefit of a well-defined class and a more fully developed treatment of potential choice of law questions," Kram wrote in an opinion dated Wednesday.
A spokesman for Take-Two was not immediately available to comment on the judge's order.
The best-selling "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" was found to have hidden sex scenes in 2005. The explicit scenes, known as "Hot Coffee" allowed players to engage in virtual sex acts.
When the scenes were discovered, the video game ratings board slapped a restrictive "adult" rating on the game. Take- Two had to pull the games off store shelves and repackage them with the "adult" rating, which crimped sales and disrupted the company's operations.