IPE: Romine V Stanton Lawsuit Dismissed, With Special Caveat

You thought it was over but it wasn’t, or at least it soon will be. James Romine’s lawsuit against Jim Sterling may have hit its final note after a long and rather ridiculous back and forth, with the revelation that the lawsuit has been dismissed. For the course of this lawsuit, you may have been misled to believe that Sterling’s focal point was on the fact that Arizona did not have jurisdiction over the case, and therefore would need to dismiss it. Far be it from me to violate the law by offering legal advice as one without a license. In reality, however, Sterling’s lawyers have focused on whether or not Romine is the proper entity to bring the case.

For instance, a cashier cannot sue a person who damages the store they work at, the store has to do it.

Now the law can look the other way on said rule if the corporate entity can be claimed as an alter ego of the individual. In this case, however, since the two Romine brothers own Digital Homicide, said rule cannot be used, since Romine did not make allegations that the acts of development were carried as an individual rather than as a corporate entity, specifically arguing that the defendant (Sterling) targeted the company itself and claiming damages that were suffered by the company rather than himself as an individual. The court does note that Romine included emotional and financial distress, however.

One issue I’ve been harping on this whole time, to an unnecessary extent, is that James Romine did need, and always will need a lawyer if he’s going to even have a chance of seeing this lawsuit go to trial. You see, while individuals can bring lawsuits pro se (without a lawyer), companies cannot. Digital Homicide would need legal council which nobody is willing to crowdfund, which no lawyer will take without upfront payment, and of which the company cannot afford after destroying their own business by attempting to serve Valve with a subpoena causing their contract to be terminated.

So Romine can’t bring lawsuit against Sterling for damages against DHS’ finances, unless he can prove to the court that he can, but DHS cannot appear in court pro se and needs to be represented through legal council, so the court has granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss, as well as denying Romine’s last two motions to amend as moot. Romine has until February 10, 2017 to file an amended complaint or the case will be dismissed entirely. It is important to note here that said complaint must be filed by a licensed attorney.

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  • Linda Sofia Hartlén

    Amazing that it has gone on for so long, and thank you for explaining it to those of us that don’t understand legalese.

  • Daniel Jensen

    Hang on, IS this a literal “Get a lawyer or GTFO” situation? Because the first part of the article makes it sound like Romine could try to continue the case as an individual, even if it means dropping the charges against his business.

    • TakaStream111

      He can’t do anymore motions as pro se because as ordered by the judge, he needs to have a lawyer to correct his amended complaints since it’s been determined that the loss of cost is more as Digital Homicide LLC than James himself. Even if Romine does try to file a motion to dismiss the case, similar to what he did from his other lawsuit against 100 steam users, he can’t do that at this point because of this here:
      https://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/frcp/rule_41

      Of course, this was according to what some users who are either very familiar or studying law from neogaf, after the judge has made that order, Romine only has to options which is to hire a lawyer in order to continue this case or wait until February 10th so that the case will be dismissed.

      Now in terms of whether he has to pay Jim’s legal fees or not, that’s still uncertain and we may find out until February 10th as to what the judge has to say about it.