Activision Blizzard Files Motion to Dismiss in Dispute with Manuel Noriega

Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP lawyers filed a motion on Sept. 22, 2014 in Los Angeles Superior Court on behalf of Activision Blizzard, Inc. to strike a lawsuit brought by former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega. Mr. Noriega alleges that Activision violated his purported right of publicity under California law by including a Noriega character in brief portions of Activision’s “Call of Duty: Black Ops II” video game.

Munger Tolles filed the motion on the grounds that the game’s depiction of a Noriega character is protected by the publisher’s right to free speech. The motion seeks to dismiss Mr. Noriega’s complaint under California’s anti-SLAPP statute, a state law enacted to protect freedom of speech against spurious lawsuits.

Mr. Noriega alleges that Activision Blizzard’s use of a Noriega character in two of the 11 “campaign”-mode “missions” in the video game violated his right of publicity under California law. He is seeking damages as well as an injunction.

Kelly M. Klaus and Carolyn Hoecker Luedtke are leading the Munger Tolles defense team, along with Brad D. Brian, William J. Edelman and Bobby Gray.