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Lindsay Lohan's Grand Theft Auto Lawsuit Survives

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By Ephrat Livni, Esq. on March 16, 2016 3:59 PM

Actress Lindsay Lohan is almost as famous for her real life antics as her on-screen performances. She famously eluded police in an SUV in New York City a while ago and is now suing the video game Grand Theft Auto for a violation of New York Civil Rights Law, saying the gaming company is illegally using her likeness for a character.

Lohan complained that Lacey Jonas, a game character, refers to her and has a similar biography. The defendant, Take-Two, which owns Rockstar Games, maker of Grand Theft Auto, moved to dismiss Lohan's initial compliant and now her amended complaint. But a judge is allowing the case to move forward, saying that Lohan's statements in her pleading sufficiently allege a cause of action, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Motion to Dismiss

A motion to dismiss is an attempt to resolve a case based on the pleadings, or an initial set of court filings, rather than going through the much longer standard process that involves evidence collection and possibly a trial. When a court considers a motion to dismiss and the plaintiff's complaint and response in light of that, it must make all inferences in the plaintiff's favor because that's the end of the line for a case that does not survive the motion.

That means that based on what Lohan has said in her pleadings, there could be a case. And based on the standard applied at this juncture in the case, the judge must credit Lohan's claims as true.

Surviving a motion to dismiss just means that Lohan can continue with her claim against Take-Two, and not that she will necessarily succeed ultimately. But both of the defendants' bases for dismissal were denied, despite the fact that Take-Two argued aggressively.

Defendants Argued

The defendants here reportedly argued that Lohan's claims had no legal merit and lacked any good faith basis. Most notably, the defense contended that the actress should be sanctioned for her suit, pointing to prior cases they claim she filed purely for publicity purposes.

Take-Two also argued that New York law allows for use of a public person's image in a work of art, so no review of the plaintiff's claims was necessary. The court ignored the recommendation to punish Lindsay Lohan and instead awarded her with the opportunity to attempt to prove her suit.

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