Call of Duty legends sue Activision for $680m for 'unlawful monopoly'

Call of Duty legends sue Activision for $680m for 'unlawful monopoly'
Images via Activision | OpTic Gaming

Written by 

Jack Marsh

Published 

16th Feb 2024 11:20

Call of Duty esports icons Hector "H3cz" Rodriguez and Seth" Scump" Abner are suing Activision for $680m for unlawful monopoly.

The two long-time esports advocates have been in the professional Call of Duty scene for over a decade, but after the latter retired from competing in early 2023, the OpTic Gaming duo have now filed a lawsuit against the publishing giant, claiming damages from the CDL franchised league.

And, already, Activision has replied.

H3cz and Scump file $680million lawsuit against Activision over the Call of Duty League 

As reported by Bloomberg, the lawsuit, which is now public, claims a number of reasons why Activision has created a "monopoly." This includes the dissolution of MLG and forcing H3cz to hand over 92.5% of his OpTic brand with Envy in order to be allowed to have a slot in the CDL.

It also includes allegations of strong-arming the twelve CDL organisations to sign new contracts or else lose the privilege of holding events. The suit claims that H3cz suffered damages after he was initially denied entrance to the Call of Duty League with the OpTic banner in the franchised division's second season, having applied to change the Chicago Huntsmen to OpTic.

The suit adds that Activision refused the new OpTic brand a slot in the league with a lack of "guaranteed" investors, which forced the merger with Envy in which H3cz signed over 92.5% of the brand. This particular damage has been priced at $120m.

H3cz and Scump also claim that Activision signed the broadcast rights away to Google-owned YouTube as a result of the company getting discounts on Google's cloud services.

While the lawsuit mentions damages incurred against the entire catalogue of organisations in the Call of Duty League, only Scump, H3cz, and HECZ LLC have been listed as plaintiffs.

The strains between Activision and OpTic have been growing for quite some time, with the publisher most recently hitting Scump with a DMCA strike despite being listed as a co-streamer for the league. Activision also fined Scump significantly for criticising a Call of Duty game.

Activision issues statement over H3cz and Scump lawsuit

Click to enlarge

In a statement publicised by CharlieIntel, Activision has now claimed that these claims are "meritless litigation," and it will "strongly defend" the lawsuit, which is "disruptive" to the Call of Duty League and its partners. 

"Mr. Rodriguez (aka OpTic H3CZ) and Mr. Abner (aka Scump) demanded that Activision pay them tens of millions of dollars to avoid this meritless litigation, and when their demands were not met, they filed," Activision said.

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"We will strongly defend against these claims, which have no basis in fact or in law. We are disappointed that these members of the esports community would bring this suit which is disruptive to team owners, players, fans, and partners who have invested so much time and energy into the Call of Duty League’s success."

While the Call of Duty League has been following the same trend as the OWL into its eventual dissolution, this lawsuit might have much wider ramifications than just the OpTic Gaming duo. It could serve as a catalyst for the end of the League as we know it, leaving the esport in a rather inconspicuous place moving forward.

Jack is an Esports Journalist at GGRecon. Graduating from the University of Chester, with a BA Honours degree in Journalism, Jack is an avid esports enthusiast and specialises in Rocket League, Call of Duty, VALORANT, and trending gaming news.

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