County settling lawsuit prompted by Pokemon Go ordinance

Game maker would receive $83,000 to cover legal bills

Milwaukee County would have to pay $83,000 in legal fees under the terms of a settlement with a Nevada-based app maker that sued after the county passed an ordinance requiring a permit for “location-based augmented reality games” in county parks.

The county’s attorneys and insurance company are recommending the county settle the lawsuit brought by Candy Lab Inc. in the U.S. District Court for Eastern Wisconsin. The settlement amount represents a portion of Candy Lab’s legal fees, according to a memo by Collen Foley, Milwaukee County deputy corporation counsel, and would fall under the county’s deductible.

The ordinance requiring permits was passed after the popularity of Pokemon Go in 2016 brought hundreds of people to Lake Park, causing issues for area residents and thousands of dollars in police and park maintenance services.

Candy Lab, which makes a game called “Texas Rope ‘Em” that requires players to get playing cards at real-world locations, sued the county in April, alleging the law infringed on its free speech rights by regulating its ability to publish video games using augmented reality.

U.S. District Judge J.P. Stadtmueller granted a preliminary injunction blocking the county from enforcing the ordinance in July. Stadtmueller said the ordinance was not narrowly tailored to serve the interests it was supposedly aimed at and treated game makers like they were trying to hold an event at a park.

“This misunderstands the nature of the problem, since Candy Lab’s video game will not be played at a discrete time or location within a park,” he wrote. “Requiring Candy Lab to secure insurance, portable restrooms, security, clean-up, and provide a timeline for an ‘event’ is incongruent with how Texas Rope ‘Em (or any other mobile game) is played.”

The settlement would convert Stadtmueller’s preliminary injunction into a permanent one while also requiring the county to pay some of Candy Lab’s legal bills, according to Foley’s memo.

The county board and Stadtmueller still have to sign off on the deal.

Milwaukee County would have to pay $83,000 in legal fees under the terms of a settlement with a Nevada-based app maker that sued after the county passed an ordinance requiring a permit for “location-based augmented reality games” in county parks.

The county’s attorneys and insurance company are recommending the county settle the lawsuit brought by Candy Lab Inc. in the U.S. District Court for Eastern Wisconsin. The settlement amount represents a portion of Candy Lab’s legal fees, according to a memo by Collen Foley, Milwaukee County deputy corporation counsel, and would fall under the county’s deductible.

The ordinance requiring permits was passed after the popularity of Pokemon Go in 2016 brought hundreds of people to Lake Park, causing issues for area residents and thousands of dollars in police and park maintenance services.

Candy Lab, which makes a game called “Texas Rope ‘Em” that requires players to get playing cards at real-world locations, sued the county in April, alleging the law infringed on its free speech rights by regulating its ability to publish video games using augmented reality.

U.S. District Judge J.P. Stadtmueller granted a preliminary injunction blocking the county from enforcing the ordinance in July. Stadtmueller said the ordinance was not narrowly tailored to serve the interests it was supposedly aimed at and treated game makers like they were trying to hold an event at a park.

“This misunderstands the nature of the problem, since Candy Lab’s video game will not be played at a discrete time or location within a park,” he wrote. “Requiring Candy Lab to secure insurance, portable restrooms, security, clean-up, and provide a timeline for an ‘event’ is incongruent with how Texas Rope ‘Em (or any other mobile game) is played.”

The settlement would convert Stadtmueller’s preliminary injunction into a permanent one while also requiring the county to pay some of Candy Lab’s legal bills, according to Foley’s memo.

The county board and Stadtmueller still have to sign off on the deal.

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