Ark: Survival Evolved developer Studio Wildcard was sued late last year by Trendy Micro, the studio behind Dungeon Defenders, over allegations that former Trendy President Jeremy Stieglitz had tried to recruit other developers at the studio to the Ark project. That, Trendy said, was in direct violation of his contract, which forbid him from poaching his former fellow employees after he left the studio.
The stakes were high, and the language harsh: a “motion for writs of attachment and garnishment” filed on April 6 claims Stieglitz owes Trendy Entertainment owner Insight Ventures at least $26 million and predicts that the final figure could be much higher. “This amount does not include the substantial damages that Insight incurred as a result of Stieglitz’s failure to honor the right of first refusal, nor does it take into account the tens of millions of dollars by which Wildcard was unjustly enriched by using Trendy’s intellectual property,” it says. It also accused Stieglitz and his wife, Susan, of some pretty shady dealings, including stashing their assets away in international banks.
“Plaintiff believes that the Stieglitzes will continue to remove their assets from Florida until they are effective judgment proof,” the filing says. “Whether it be lying under oath, using Susan’s maiden name to hide Stieglitz’s involvement in Wildcard, evading service, or planning secret trips to Singapore to hide assets and remove them from the reach of this Court, one thing is clear: The Stielgitzes will stop at nothing to block Trendy and Insight from successfully collecting their debts.”
Despite that nasty rhetoric, a filing made yesterday indicates that a “final written settlement agreement” was reached less than one week later. The terms of the settlement weren’t disclosed, but a direct message from Susan Stieglitz posted on Reddit (via Kotaku) says, “We ended up settling for 40 [million].” That’s a big pile of money, but far short of what Trendy and Insight were apparently seeking: According to a tweet from April 12, they had initially asked for $600 million in damages.