Dallas-based MumboJumbo has won a legal battle against its former business partner PopCap over the sale and distribution of premium casual games at retail. A Dallas jury awarded MumboJumbo $4.6 million in damages and found PopCap liable for fraud, breach of contract, and intentionally damaging a business relationship between MumboJumbo and Wal-Mart, a key retailer. PopCap Games says it plans to appeal.
The lawsuit stemmed from a previous distribution agreement between MumboJumbo and Seattle-based PopCap where MumboJumbo would produce, distribute and sell certain PopCap games in North American retail outlets including Game Stop, Best Buy, Toys R Us, Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club. However, according to MumboJumbo the relationship between the two companies became strained after PopCap began developing its own strategy for marketing and distributing PopCap games at retail (essentially aiming to cutting out MumboJumbo as the middleman).
According to the press release issued by MumboJumbo earlier today, a jury in the 193rd Civil District Court in Dallas County unanimously agreed that PopCap breached the contract when it "went behind MumboJumbo’s back and decided to market and sell its games on its own."
The release added that during the 12-day trial, MumboJumbo’s law firm Rose Walker showed that PopCap’s actions "severely damaged" the business relationship between MumboJumbo and Wal-Mart. Central to proving that portion of the case were PopCap’s own internal e-mail messages, which showed the company employed a calculated use of false and misleading statements in order to sour that business relationship.
Today’s verdict does not signal the end of the legal wrangling between the two companies. Attorney Mike Richardson, one of three lawyers representing MumboJumbo with Rose Walker, told Gamezebo that the case was not over and that "[the firm’s] job is to make certain that [MumboJumbo] is justly compensated for the losses it experienced as a result of PopCap’s actions."
A PopCap Games spokesperson emailed us the following statement: "PopCap continues to believe that it did nothing wrong in this case, and will vigorously pursue its claims and defend itself through the appeals process."