Fortnite star Turner “Tfue” Tenney will have to continue his battle with FaZe Clan outside of California after a judge from the state dismissed his lawsuit.
When Tfue’s legal team revealed details of his contract with the organization, fans were horrified by its apparent one-sidedness of the deal in favor of FaZe. It sparked a debate in the esports industry about the normalcy of unfair and predatory contracts between professional gamers and esports organizations.
Tfue filed a lawsuit against FaZe Clan in May 2019, claiming that the organization had the ability to take over 80% of his competitive earnings, had blocked him from obtaining sponsorship opportunities, and even pressured him to perform dangerous stunts for the organization’s content. The lawsuit claimed that FaZe had violated California’s Talent Agencies Act, which demands that employment for certain kinds of artists must be procured by an agent. Since FaZe allegedly violated the TTA, Tfue’s attorney stated the contract shouldn’t apply and that his Gamer Agreement with the organization is void.
FaZe Clan shot back that they didn’t manage the Fortnite pro in the state of California. The organization also filed a countersuit in New York, claiming that Tfue had breached his contract by suing them and then attempted to take his former FaZe teammates to start his own organization. Tfue later denied that he had a desire to start his own team, claiming he was “too stupid” to read a contract, let alone run an organization.
On June 17, Judge Jed S. Rackoff of the Southern District of New York rejected most of FaZe Clan’s requests and all of Tfue’s requests. The document outlining this decision stated that both parties had to call the court no later than June 24 to set a trial date.
While the case has been dismissed in California, Tfue still has a hearing before the California Labor Commissioner about the Talent Agencies Act and “illegal procurement.” After the California judge dismissed Tfue’s lawsuit, his lawyer Bryan Freedman stated that there’s no need to have the proceeding in state court.
“All issues will be resolved in the trial in New York and in front of the California Labor Commission. My client is very confident and looks forward adjudicating these issues,” Freedman stated.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, FaZe Clan’s chief legal officer, Philip Gordon, stated that the organization was pleased with the California judge’s decision to dismiss Tfue’s case.
“This is one of many moments throughout this legal process when the courts have ruled in our favor. We haven’t wanted to argue this in the press because we don’t want to attack Turner. We care about him and our gamers who have been hurt by this process. The reality is we support Turner and invested heavily in his career. We simply want an outcome that is fair. We look forward to continuing the New York case and feel confident in its outcome,” Gordon said.
The case will proceed in the state of New York. The current start date for the trial is October 5.