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Activision Blizzard sued by family of deceased employee for wrongful death
The family of deceased Activision Blizzard employee Kerri Moynihan is suing the company for wrongful death.
March 4, 2022
2 Min Read
CW: This article mentions instances of death by suicide and sexual harassment.
The family of deceased Activision Blizzard employee Kerri Moynihan is suing the company for wrongful death. The Washington Post is reporting that Moynihan's family filed the suit this Thursday in federal court.
The family's lawsuit sheds key light on Moynihan's death, which was briefly mentioned in the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing's lawsuit last year. At the time, the DFEH alleged that an unnamed employee had died by suicide after photographs of her genitals were passed around by co-workers at a holiday party.
This incident is not mentioned in the family's lawsuit, but it does name former Activision Blizzard senior finance director Greg Restituito--Moynihan's former boss--as having a sexual relationship with Moynihan prior to her death. The family alleges that Restituito lied to the Anaheim police department during their investigation into Moynihan's death, and may have worked to hide evidence of their relationship in the following days.
They also allege that sexual harassment was a "significant factor" leading to her death.
Activision Blizzard is accused of failing to turn over Moynihan's company-issued laptop or phone to police, and apparently wiped all data from her work phone.
The Moynihan family's lawsuit offers a terrible amount of insight into the DFEH's allegations about misconduct at Activision Blizzard, both by shedding light on a major accusation the department made against the company, and possibly revealing its interest in subpoenaing "LA-area police departments."
Last summer, Activision Blizzard slammed the DFEH for mentioning Moynihan's passing in its lawsuit. At the time, here's what it had to say about what seems to be Moynihan's death:
"We are sickened by the reprehensible conduct of the DFEH to drag into the complaint the tragic suicide of an employee whose passing has no bearing whatsoever on this case and with no regard for her grieving family. While we find this behavior to be disgraceful and unprofessional, it is unfortunately an example of how they have conducted themselves throughout the course of their investigation."
It appears Moynihan's grieving family had concerns with Activision Blizzard after all. When we asked the company about the family's lawsuit, a spokesperson offered the following statement:
“We at Activision Blizzard were, and continue to be, deeply saddened by the tragic death of Ms. Moynihan, who was a valued member of the company. We will address the complaint through the legal process as appropriate, and out of respect for the family we have no further comment at this time.”
It's unknown how this lawsuit will impact Microsoft's impending $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
We've reached out to Microsoft and the California DFEH, and will update our story when they respond.
About the Author(s)
Senior Editor, GameDeveloper.com
Bryant Francis is a writer, journalist, and narrative designer based in Boston, MA. He currently writes for Game Developer, a leading B2B publication for the video game industry. His credits include Proxy Studios' upcoming 4X strategy game Zephon and Amplitude Studio's 2017 game Endless Space 2.
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