Rockstar Games has replied to former Mob Wives star Karen Gravano's lawsuit over GTA 5. The company, as you might've guessed, doesn't think she's entitled to $40 million of their money.
Gravano alleged in her lawsuit that Rockstar based a GTA 5 character, Antonia Bottino, on her. Bottino is the daughter of a former crime boss who snitched on his colleagues. The player has to rescue her from gangsters in a mission.
The lawsuit says that the game is adapting Gravano's life story without her permission. Gravano, like Bottino, is the daughter of a gangster who testified against his former associates. Bottino's father doesn't want her to star on Wise Bitches, a parody version of Mob Wives. Gravano's lawsuit also argues that Rockstar based Bottino's appearance on her own.
If Rockstar keeps using Gravano's likeness in the game, the lawsuit alleges, she'll be "irreparably damaged in a manner and to an extent not compensable by money damages." But they should give her $40 million just in case.
Rockstar's reply, filed this month, points out that prior cases have established that "life stories" aren't protected concepts under law. A company producing a "a "work of fiction" can't be sued "merely because the actual experiences of the living person had been similar to the acts and events so narrated." They mention later in the document that "the major event befalling Bottino – being kidnapped and nearly buried alive – undisputedly is not an element of Ms. Gravano’s life."
The company adds that Gravano and Bottino don't look alike. They refer to a written statement from a friend of Gravano who says that Bottino looked like a "thinner version of Gravano." Even if the GTA 5 character did closely resemble Gravano, Rockstar says, "it would still be a caricature or parody that departs in key respects from what any literal depiction of Ms. Gravano or her life would include."
Rockstar closes the reply by saying the lawsuit should be "dismissed in its entirety with prejudice." They further argue that they should be awarded "sanctions, costs and fees" by the court.
This is the second time Rockstar was accused of ripping off a celebrity's life for GTA 5. Lindsay Lohan was considering legal action because she was convinced that character Poppy Mitchell was based on her. That lawsuit never materialized, though, perhaps because her lawyers realized how slim their chances were. Suing a company for using a public figure as partial inspiration in a satire isn't a move with a high success rate.