The lawsuit between Digital Homicide’s James Romine and James Stanton, aka Jim Sterling, was dismissed with prejudice following discussions between Romine and Sterling’s lawyer.
James Romine was attempting to sue the gamer for what he claimed were slanderous remarks.
This video is okay. https://t.co/ND4dLMzeeF
— Jim RESISTerling (@JimSterling) March 1, 2017
Last year, Romine sued Sterling for damages in excess of $10 million, claiming counts of libel, slander, and 320 assault on Digital Homicide as a company. The suit was brought against Sterling after he uploaded a first impressions video of then-new Steam release The Slaughtering Grounds, a game developed and published by Digital Homicide – which he labelled “a dreadful FPS cobbled together from store-bought Unity assets that were thoughtlessly tossed into a shitty little map and used blood-spatter effects copy-pasted from Google Image Search”. He went on to call it an “absolute failure” and a “worst game of 2014 contender”.
Following this review, James Romine – along with Imminent Uprising, the co-developer of the title – posted a “Review the Reviewer” video on YouTube. They reuploaded Jim’s original video with text overlay calling him a terrible reviewer, attempting to parody his reviews, and labelling him an idiot. Meanwhile, Jim’s original video was taken down by Romine and Digital Homicide, who cited copyright infringement on their content.
After two years of back-and-forth between the two parties, Jim was surprised when a sheriff knocked on his door and handed him a lawsuit for over $10 million. After some time, the case was suspended on grounds that Digital Homicide would require a lawyer to represent them – rather than James Romine who had been representing them up to that point. They also had the option to modify the document to state that it wasn’t Digital Homicide filing the suit, but rather Romine himself.
Romine attempted several crowdfunding projects to be able to raise funds for a lawyer, but ultimately failed to do so, with his GoFundMe page stalling at around $400. He then wrote up two new lawsuits to the tune of $12 million and $15 million respectively – this time for slander, harassment, and libel against himself as opposed to the company, while still citing the previous claims he made for Digital Homicide as well as civil conspiracy by Sterling and Valve to undermine his business.
The latter claim was based on a Skype conversation between Valve and Romine, in which Valve removed all of Digital Homicide’s games from the Steam Store in light of information brought to light by Sterling – Romine was attempting to publish under the names of several false companies in order to circumvent the Steam Store policy. He also attempted to file lawsuits against 100 Steam users who left negative reviews on Digital Homicide games.
In his video on the topic, Jim Sterling goes over the document he first received in March last year, as well as the other “shady” practices Romine went through and the “spurious” lawsuits brought against Jim over the course of the court case.
Sterling also made a post on his website The Jimquisition, saying: “For those curious about this resolution, I was not a direct part of the communication between Romine and my lawyer, but as I understand it, the agreement to drop the suit with prejudice was the result of [Sterling’s lawyer] Hartman’s enviable reasoning ability. The plaintiff agreed to drop his case after my lawyer explained exactly what would happen if this went to court and how we would respond.”
In the document outlining the motion for dismissal with prejudice, it says that “each party is to bear its own costs and attorneys’ fees” and that the plaintiff is to “forever refrain from taking actions against defendant’s business” including the filing of DMCA claims without any form of proof that the defendant had actually broken copyright law.
He had this to say on the progress of the trial: “That it got as far as it did, went on for as long as it did, is atrocious – especially when this is a case that amounts to a game developer wanting to silence a game critic.”
He continued, “I personally viewed, and still view, the lawsuit as an attempted attack on my freedom to do my legally protected job. I personally perceive it as an attack launched by a man who is unable to deal with criticism in a reasonable fashion and has sought to blame me, continuously, for his failures.”