New York, New York

HomeNew YorkNew York

Email Eric T. Chaffin Eric T. Chaffin on Twitter Eric T. Chaffin on Facebook Eric T. Chaffin on Avvo
Eric T. Chaffin
Eric T. Chaffin
Attorney • (888) 480-1123

Pokemon Go Game Makers Facing Trespassing Lawsuits

Comments Off

For the last several weeks we’ve been hearing about how people playing the popular game Pokemon Go have been hurting themselves. Some, after crashing their cars, have admitted to playing while behind the wheel. Others have fallen off cliffs, broken their ankles, or been hit by cars while crossing busy streets.

There are other risks of playing the game while not paying attention to the world around you, however. One is the risk of trespassing onto private property while searching for that elusive new creature.

That’s what happened recently both the U.S. and Canada. Plaintiffs have filed lawsuits against game makers Niantic Labs and Nintendo because the game had placed Pokemon creatures and “gyms” on private property.

New Jersey Man Sues Pokemon Game Makers Over Issues of Trespassing

When playing the game, individuals use the camera feature on their smartphones to see the world around them. Pokemon creatures “show up” as virtual objects overlaid on the surroundings, and players go after them to try to “catch” them for points. Pokemon “gyms” and “Pokestops” are locations in which players can catch new creatures or battle with others.

When all this happens in public places, the biggest danger is self-injury. But when Pokemon creatures and other game locations show up on private property, owners aren’t happy.

A New Jersey resident, for example, recently filed a lawsuit against the game makers after experiencing a number of unwanted encounters with Pokemon Go players. Strangers were lingering outside his home searching for creatures, and some knocked on his door asking for access to his backyard where the creatures were supposed to be located. He added that that game had placed gyms and Pokestops on his property, as well.

The plaintiff is seeking class action status for his case, as he says that his issues with privacy are not unique, and that many other property owners have suffered trespassers playing the game. He’s also asking for personal compensation and for the game makers to make adjustments to prevent trespassing in the future.

Canadian Woman Inundated with Strangers at Her Home

These pricing issues are not limited to the US. A woman in Alberta, Canada also recently filed a new class-action lawsuit against Pokemon Go game makers in August 2016.  She says that since her property was added as a “gym,” dozens of people regularly show up at her home at all hours of the day and night.

The plaintiff explains that people have been peeking in her windows and doors, and trying to climb over her fence. One individual threw a drone into their yard while playing the game. She has seen players hanging around at 1:00 a.m. in the morning, causing her dogs to bark, which has resulted in the neighbors complaining about the noise. On the whole, she estimates that over 100 intruders have invaded her property since the game was released in July 2016.

The woman is the main plaintiff in a lawsuit that attorneys plan to file as a class-action case, to represent other property owners who have suffered trespassing as a result of the game craze. They say that the game makers have established these Pokestops and gyms with “callous disregard” for property owners and without consulting with them beforehand.

The case will need to be certified by a judge before it can continue as a class action.