People Driving and Playing Pokemon Go Caused Billions in Damages
A homeowner in West Orange, New Jersey, has filed a request for a class-action lawsuit against Niantic Inc., The Pokemon Company and Nintendo Co., Ltd. in California federal court after strangers playing Pokemon Go on their cell phones began trespassing into his backyard to catch the virtual creatures. According to a report on Forbes.com, the homeowner alleges that the defendants placed Pokestops and Pokemon gyms on private property without the consent of property owners and then proceeded to profit from the players invading private property.
Backyard Invaded by Pokemon Players
The homeowner, Jeffrey Marder, said he became aware that his backyard “contained Pokemon” when strangers began gathering in front of his house holding up their cell phones. The lawsuit alleges that at least five players knocked on his door and asked if they could gain access to his backyard to catch Pokemon. By requesting permission rather than trespassing, the players seem to have been following the game’s recommendation that they respect other people’s property.
However, the suit cites cases of players not respecting sacred grounds such as cemeteries or even the Holocaust Museum as examples of unwanted intrusions into private property. The lawsuit asks for class action status on the grounds that the legal costs of pursuing a case against the defendants would be prohibitively high for most people. In addition, there are no real damages for the plaintiffs who are likely to be individual property owners.
Remedies for Plaintiffs
The lawsuit asks that property owners be paid and that the Pokemon gyms and Pokestops not be placed on private property without consent. Pokemon Go could be done if the lawsuit succeeds in its current form. Observers say it is unlikely that this lawsuit will shut down Pokemon Go, a game that has won the hearts of millions across the world. But it might help provide some relief for homeowners and private property owners who are annoyed by players knocking on their doors.
The proposed class includes all U.S. property owners whose homes were designed without their permission to be Pokestops or Pokemon gyms. Class action lawsuits are usually filed in cases where individual plaintiffs don’t suffer significant damages, but want to hold a large corporation accountable for their negligence. In this case, a large corporation benefiting from private property owners without their permission is at issue, as it should be. Our California class action attorneys will be watching this case with great interest. If you would like to pursue a similar action, we would like to hear from you.