Phantoml0rd lawsuit

Twitch has filed with the Superior Court of California, San Francisco County to dismiss its lawsuit with James “Phantoml0rd” Varga. The court only recently set this case to go to trial in October 2020.

Varga and Twitch have been doing the lawsuit lambada for over two years now, with Varga seeking $35 million in damages for Twitch banning him back in 2016. Twitch claimed that they were in their rights to do so, before cross-suing for reputational damages due to Varga’s lawsuit. Twitch originally argued that the case’s damages should be capped at $50,000 per the company’s contract. However, Judge Curtis Karnow ruled that this clause was too disproportionate in favor of Twitch, according to Dexerto. As such, Karnow scheduled the trial for October this year.

But Twitch isn’t done in its attempts to throw the case out of court just yet. In their Motion for Summary Judgment, they have called on the Court to dismiss this case for quite a few reasons.

Dismissing the Section 230 claims

For starters, Twitch argues that Varga’s claims are barred under Section 230(c)(1) and 230(c)(2) of the Communications Decency Act. Section 230 offers immunity to platforms acting in “good faith” to prevent any content that the platform finds to be obscene or objectionable. Basically, Twitch is claiming that the Phantoml0rd lawsuit has shown no evidence to the contrary.

“Twitch did not act in bad faith because the ToS and Partnership Agreement (to the extent it even governed his account termination here) forewarned against exactly the type of content for which Plaintiff was penalized,” Twitch’s legal team argued. The team goes on to explain that Twitch banned Varga for “inappropriate content, non-gaming content, and activity that contravenes applicable laws such as gambling productions.”

Regarding the non-gaming content

Secondly, Varga claimed that Twitch “unfairly banned” him for showing non-gaming content, when a Twitch employee told him he could stream 30 minutes of non-gaming content at a time. Twitch maintains that while what the employee told Varga was true, he “exceeded this limit on all of the occasions on which he received a violation for non-gaming content. The fact that he did not adhere to Twitch’s admonitions alone defeats the claim that they caused his harm.”

Twitch’s legal team also added:

More importantly, Plaintiff’s account was suspended for other, independent reasons besides broadcasting non-gaming content. It is beyond dispute that, irrespective of his non-gaming broadcasting, he committed a long string of serious violations of Twitch’s policies, which had already led to a prior suspension, providing ample reason to terminate.

UCL claims

Lastly, as to Varga’s claims that his ban was arbitrary and unfair under California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL), Twitch moves to dismiss this claim with the following gem of a quote:

Twitch could permissibly suspend his account under the ToS. In addition, Plaintiff’s attempt to repackage his breach claim as a UCL claim is an effort to put a square peg in a round hole.

According to UniCourt documents, the hearing for Twitch’s Motion for Summary Judgment for the Phantoml0rd lawsuit has been set for August 2020, just two months before the trial date. Of course, if the Court grants a dismissal of any of these claims, the courtroom drama is far from over. Varga will have a chance to appeal any dismissals, which means this saga could be dragged out for another two years. Stick with Daily Esports for more developments on the case as they arise.

Keri Honea
Keri has been a part of the video games industry as a writer and editor since 2004. Her video game backstory is long, convoluted, and better left unheard. When she’s not playing or writing about video games, she’s reading Warhammer 40k novels, teaching yoga, and making sure her kids don’t burn down the house.