Potential DFEH lawyer ethics violation could spell bad news for Activision Blizzard lawsuit

Potential DFEH lawyer ethics violation could spell bad news for Activision Blizzard lawsuit

Legal representation for California's Department for Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) are potentially in violation of attorney ethics.

In a filing as part of a lawsuit against the US publishing giant from the Equal Employee Opportunity Commission (EEOC) – as spotted by PC Gamer – which claims that the two lawyers leading the DFEH's legal battle previously worked for the EEOC.

If this is the case, Activision Blizzard claims that it would not only be a conflict of interest, but also a violation of both attorney ethics and California's Rules of Professional Conduct.

This follows DFEH filing an objection against Activision Blizzard's $18 million settlement with EEOC owing to the fact that said agreement would impact "evidence "critical to the DFEH's case."

EEOC notes that DFEH brought in new counsel following the revelation that two of its attorneys were in an ethical bind, but says that the fact they were able to file an appeal so shortly after being brought on board means that it likely involved the older and compromised lawyers.

"There can be no claim that there was timely 'isolation of [these] lawyer[s] from any participation' in representing DFEH in connection with the intervention proceedings, as would be necessary to show that timely screening took place," EEOC stated.

"Thus, all DFEH attorneys were and should remain barred from representing DFEH in this matter."

This could spell bad news for DFEH's lawsuit against Activision Blizzard which was filed back in July and alleged a widespread working culture of harassment, abuse and misconduct.

Activision Blizzard is also facing an investigation from the SEC as well as a complaint to the National Labor Relations Board from the Communication Workers of America union.

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.