After a year of lingering and a cavalcade of increasingly exasperating amendments, it is a distinct personal pleasure to finally be able to say that the lawsuit “James Romine v. James Stanton” has been dismissed with prejudice following discussions between my lawyer Bradley Hartman and the plaintiff James Romine.
In 2016, Romine sued yours truly – better (and preferably) known as Jim Sterling – for over $10million, a sum that would rise to over $15million during the course of the year. The original charges were assault, libel, and slander. Romine alleged that my coverage of his game studio Digital Homicide inflicted not only severe emotional damage but irreparably harmed his company.
Included in his complaint was an attempt to charge me for the time and money he’d spent learning just enough law to file the suit in the first place.
I will not go over the entirety of the lawsuit or its associated ordeal in this statement. There are a lot of things to talk about but right now I want to take a moment to simply respond to the immediate news.
First of all, I’m obviously pleased with the result. We filed for dismissal, because this whole thing was an instant waste of time and money that could never be recuperated. Even if this went to court and we counterclaimed, what would we get out of it? A dismissal with prejudice is even better than the simple dismissal I’d originally aimed for – this effectively means these ludicrous charges aren’t coming back.
Although he filed pro se and couldn’t seem to find legal help (his funding page for a lawyer remained starkly arid for the duration of this situation), Romine was nevertheless a drain on resources both material and emotional and his increasingly erratic filings continued to confuse and exasperate throughout the months.
For those curious about this resolution, I was not a direct part of the communication between Romine and my lawyer, but as I understand it, the agreement to drop the suit with prejudice was the result of Hartman’s enviable reasoning ability. The plaintiff agreed to drop his case after my lawyer explained exactly what would happen if this went to court and how we would respond.
That it got as far as it did, went on for as long as it did, is atrocious – especially when this is a case that amounts to a game developer wanting to silence a game critic.
I personally viewed, and still view, the lawsuit as an attempted attack on my freedom to do my legally protected job. I personally perceive it as an attack launched by a man who is unable to deal with criticism in a reasonable fashion and has sought to blame me, continuously, for his failures.
Even Digital Homicide’s removal from Steam following an attempt to sue 100 anonymous community members was falsely linked to me, Romine’s final amendment adding claims of conspiracy between myself and Valve Corporation.
Romine and his brother Robert have consistently laid the blame for their many failures at my feet, and at some point they are going to have to accept that if they’d stop continuing and escalating the animosity between themselves and the rest of the world, they’d stand a chance of improving themselves and their lot in life. A little reflection would do them both good, and I sincerely hope they emotionally steel themselves enough to partake of it one day.
There is no conspiracy. There is no orchestrated terror campaign. There is simply what there has always been – one random critic in a sea of them having a stupid fight with a pair of brothers who don’t make a lot of sense and whose claims have a strained relationship with reality.
Many will have come here expecting humor or laughter, but I want to make it quite clear that I do not find this lawsuit funny in the slightest. Even getting the result I wanted is bittersweet, as it’s the result to a situation that should never have occurred – a distasteful situation that fills me with surrogate embarrassment for the man who filed it.
I find this lawsuit disgusting. It was and it is and it shall forever be disgusting.
While the accusations found within the lawsuit are farcical and definitively veer into comedy territory – as we’ll find out when I go through it in detail at a later date – the existence of it is simply grotesque. That you can be made to spend that much money and effort defending yourself from spurious claims should be a worrying prospect for anybody whose job involves saying things that some people aren’t going to like.
During the course of this whole ordeal, the subject of harassment has come up, with Romine alleging serious criminal acts committed against him. On a very serious note indeed, I would like to remind everybody that harassment is not a valid response to any argument, and that anything of the sort done in my name is something I quite vehemently oppose. We are better than that.
I’d like to thank everybody for their kind words and support over a trying year. I’d like to thank my wife and close friends who kept me spirited and laughing. I’d also like to thank my Patreon patrons, without whom I’d have a much harder time defending myself from this sort of awfulness.
There is more to be said, perhaps in a lighter tone, but right now I am tired and reflective, and should probably just play some videogames for a minute.
Thank you all once again for your continued support. I dread to think how facing this alone would have been.
James Fucking Stanton Son.
P.S. I did not enjoy playing The Slaughtering Grounds very much.