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D&D BREAKING: Gale Force 9 Sue WotC Over Breach of Contract

3 Minute Read
Nov 20 2020
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Legal troubles for WotC this week, as miniature & game manufacturer Gale Force Nine has filed suit against Wizards of the Coast, alleging breach of contract.

On November 17th, Gale Force Nine filed suit against Wizards of the Coast, seeking $950,000 in damages over an alleged breach of a 2017 contract, claiming that WotC had, in bad faith, declined to approve previously agreed upon merchandise. The complaint was filed in the Western Washington District Court earlier this week:

Case Docket & Details (Justia)

Complaint Details

The dispute arises out of a Merchandise Licensing Agreement in 2017 for the publication of localized D&D products and books, announced back in March of 2017 as an “international edition” D&D, translating several D&D books into multiple languages. The agreement was amended in May 2018, extending the terms of their deal to expire December 31st, 2021.

Earlier this year, after revising the release schedule for previously agreed upon products, owing to COVID-19 related delays. The suit states “on or about May 18, 2020, Wizards communicated to GF9 its desire to end the 2017 Agreement and the 2008 Agreement one year early — on December 31, 2020 rather than the planned expiration date of December 31, 2021.” During the ensuing discussions, Wizards made it known that “certain products licensed under the 2017 release schedule” already in production, were not going to be approved.

GF9 explains the approval process in the complaint, outlining that WotC had final say on any products before they were released. GF9 claims WotC declined to approve the already agreed upon products–new translations of previously approved products, in English and other languages – without giving a reason for their non-approval.

But all of this comes in response to a notice sent by Wizards of the Coast claiming that Gale Force Nine was in breach of contract with them, alleging on November 9th that GF9 had breached their prior agreement through releasing translations in French and Korean of “certain products [that were] of low quality, including translations that were poorly done and included inaccurate, missing, and offensive translations.” GF9 disputes this, claiming they took the actions advised by Wizards and that they had addressed the issues WotC is claiming.

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Gale Force Nine is seeking $950,000 in damages and a trial by jury.

Statement from John-Paul Briscotti from GF9:

Gale Force Nine sent BoLS the following statement:

“After twelve years of working with Wizards, we find ourselves in a difficult place having to utilize the legal system to try and resolve an issue we have spent the last six months trying to amicably handle between us without any success. We still hope this can be settled between us but the timeline for a legal resolution has meant we have been forced to go down this path at this time.” 

Previous WotC Litigation

If this case rings familiar, it’s because a similar complaint was filed earlier this year when Dragonlance creators Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman brought suit against WotC for an alleged breach of contract over planned Dragonlance novels. That suit claiming that WotC had made it known they would not be approving the final products. Both Weis and Hickman and GF9 claim a failure of good faith and fair dealing.

~We will be checking in on this case as it develops.

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