Pokémon Go: Green Light for Future Litigation

By: Zachary P. Marks
September 30, 2016

Though it debuted to the public just two months ago, Pokémon Go, the latest gaming craze to sweep the nation, broke mobile app download records within one week of its release and achieved more daily active users than any other game on the market.  The game allows users to see animated creatures, known as Pokémon, on their cell phones while the user traverses the real world, with the goal being to “catch” as many Pokémon as possible.  The viral phenomena has already led to numerous claims and violations across the nation, with some bizarre examples to include the following:

  • Trespassing on private property in an attempt to catch Pokémon in the owner’s backyard;
  • Public nuisance/loitering as users swarm businesses attempting to catch Pokémon;
  • Reckless endangerment of infant children left at home as parents scour neighborhoods for Pokémon;
  • Personal injuries from plummeting down a 90-foot cliff while distractedly playing the game; and
  • Armed robbery and assault of gamers who are predictably in certain areas trying to catch elusive Pokémon.

The above examples are all based on real cases that have emerged since the inception of Pokémon Go, with further lawsuits expected. In the future, we may even see wrongful death actions attributable to users playing Pokémon Go while driving, or other negligence-based actions attributable to the game’s inherent distractions. Significantly, these concerns are not limited to Pokémon Go. Next on the chopping block? Self-driving cars and virtual reality.

For any further comment and/or discussion, please feel free to contact the author.

About the author

Zachary P. Marks

Mr. Marks is an Associate at Chapman Glucksman Dean Roeb & Barger.

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