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Game On: Van Ness Suit Targets Pokémon GO

pokemon-goVan Ness Law Firm, PLC, a Florida-based law firm specializing in civil litigation practices that include commercial and residential real estate property, recently filed a lawsuit in Palm Beach County, Florida against Niantic, Inc., the developer of the recently popular game Pokémon GO, according to an announcement from the firm.

The lawsuit has been attributed to Niantic’s alleged deceptive, unfair, or unconscionable trade practices relating to its Terms of Service. This suit is one of many examples of default servicing firms diversifying their practices due to a decrease in foreclosures as well as the trickle-down effect from the increasingly regulated default industry.

The Van Ness lawsuit, styled Beckman v. Niantic, Inc., Case No.: 50-2016-CA-008330, was filed on July 26, 2016 in Palm Beach County, Florida. The report states that the plaintiff, David J. Beckman, claims that Niantic has violated the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices ACT (“FDUTPA”) in attempting to provide an illusory contract.

This means that Pokémon GO users enter into a Terms of Service and a Privacy Policy which gives Niantic expansive rights to, amongst other things, collect user data. Meanwhile the report shows that Niantic reserves the right to unilaterally alter or terminate any or all of the separate parts of the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Because of this, the complaint alleges that Niantic “is not bound by the Pokémon GO Terms of Service or the Pokémon GO Privacy Policy, and may perform if it wants to.” The announcement notes that Beckman is seeking an injunction of the offending conduct.

Suits like these are occurring more and more frequently. This has been attributed to the default servicing industry changing as inventory decreases and the housing market levels return to those from pre-crisis. While many of these firms took on a large number of transfer files with minimal revenue left in them, because of the diminishing new referral volumes, they are not able to afford the staffing models to handle the existing number of files.

There are firms that are doing well and planned appropriately for these contractions but the firms that industry leaders believe will be the strongest in the long run will be those like Van Ness that have a well-diversified practice and client base. Likewise, it is also believed to be those that have revenue streams that are not significantly linked to one particular practice subset.

About Author: Kendall Baer

Kendall Baer is a Baylor University graduate with a degree in news editorial journalism and a minor in marketing. She is fluent in both English and Italian, and studied abroad in Florence, Italy. Apart from her work as a journalist, she has also managed professional associations such as Association of Corporate Counsel, Commercial Real Estate Women, American Immigration Lawyers Association, and Project Management Institute for Association Management Consultants in Houston, TX. Born and raised in Texas, Kendall now works as the online editor for DS News.
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