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Valve accuses law firm of "targeted extortion" in new lawsuit

Law firm Zaiger is being accused of trying to "extort" a settlement from Valve under the guise of arbitration cases over alleged antitrust action.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

December 13, 2023

1 Min Read
Graphic for Valve's digital game storefront Steam.
Image via Valve.

At a Glance

  • Valve claims new evidence shows Zaiger firm exploits Steam users to force developers into a pricy settlement.

Valve is taking a small law firm to court, alleging it's being targeted by the firm with exploitative extortion tactics. According to Reuters, the Steam maker has filed a lawsuit in federal court saying law firm Zaiger has threatened the Steam maker with bringing arbitration cases of antitrust violations filed by 50,000 Steam users.

In the developer's November complaint, Zaiger and its client Black Diamond were "improperly interfering" with Valve's contracts with customers. Valve claims the two parties signed up tens of thousands of clients to force a settlement, but with no intent to arbitrate those claims.

Valve's filing includes a purported slide presentation of Zaiger's plans, and a sworn affadavit from an ex-lawyer at the firm. The slides portray the mass arbitration as an "investment opportunity," and cites Valve as an "example target."

In those same slides Zaiger reportedly outlines how it recruits thousands of clients and targets companies that can afford hundred million-dollar settlements. Black Diamond would invest $6.5 million, and by taking 30 percent of proceeds, was set to earn $122 million in profit.

As noted by Reuters, Samsung complained about Zaiger's alleged tactics back in March.

The developer was specifically listed, owing to a series of antitrust suits from 2022 filed by Wolfire Games. At the time, Valve was able to get partial dismissal, but the judge argued that claims would have to be arbitrated.

Earlier in the week, Zaiger moved to dismiss Valve's suit, calling it "a transparent attempt to intimidate [us] into abandoning meritorious claims on behalf of our clients."

Reuters' full report on Valve's case against Zaiger can be read here.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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