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Judge Tosses Challenge To Video Game Law

18 Jun, 2002 By: Kurt Indvik

A U.S. District Court judge has abruptly dismissed a legal challenge to a St. Louis County, Mo., ordinance restricting the sale and rental of violent video games to minors.

Plaintiffs in the case, which include the Interactive Digital Software Association and Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA), vow to appeal the decision, which they claim is legally improper. Meanwhile, officials at St. Louis County reportedly will delay implementing the ordinance until Jan. 1 to await the outcome of a probable appeal.

Judge Stephen Limbaugh had in April denied the plaintiff's request for a summary judgment invalidating the ordinance, which requires parental consent for minors to rent games with violent or sexual content, saying that he found it constitutionally valid. In a ruling last week he said that, upon further review of that order and amended complaints, “The court finds that the order essentially addresses all the legal issues presented in this case and nothing remains for plaintiffs to proceed on in their compliant.”

The order also indicated that county had been scheduled to file a notice for summary judgment by July 1. Judge Limbaugh's “sua sponte” order (i.e. on the court's own initiative) dismisses the complaint outright. “VSDA believes the judge's decision to dismiss the complaint in the absence of a motion for summary judgment by St. Louis County is improper and will be reversed on appeal,” said Sean Bersell, VP of public affairs for the VSDA.

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