Twin Galaxies, Billy Mitchell settle Donkey Kong score case before trial


Two men give a presentation in what appears to be a hotel room.
Enlarge / Billy Mitchell (left) and Twin Galaxies owner Jace Hall (center) attend an event at the Arcade Expo 2015 in Banning, California.

The long, drawn-out legal fight between famed high-score chaser Billy Mitchell and “International Scoreboard” Twin Galaxies appears to be over. Courthouse News reports that Mitchell and Twin Galaxies have reached a confidential settlement in the case months before an oft-delayed trial was finally set to start.

The settlement comes as Twin Galaxies counsel David Tashroudian had come under fire for legal misconduct after making improper contact with two of Mitchell’s witnesses in the case. Tashroudian formally apologized to the court for that contact in a filing earlier this month, writing that he had “debased myself before this Court” and “allowed my personal emotions to cloud my judgement” by reaching out to the witnesses outside of official court proceedings.

But in the same statement, Tashroudian took Mitchell’s side to task for “what appeared to me to be the purposeful fabrication and hiding of evidence.” The emotional, out-of-court contact was intended “to prove what I still genuinely believe is fraud on this Court,” he wrote.

Billy Mitchell reviews a document in front of a <em>Donkey Kong</em> machine decked out for an annual "Kong Off" high score competition.

Billy Mitchell reviews a document in front of a Donkey Kong machine decked out for an annual “Kong Off” high score competition.

In a filing last month, Tashroudian asked the court to sanction Mitchell for numerous alleged lies and fabrications during the evidence-discovery process. Those alleged lies encompass subjects including an alleged $33,000 payment associated with the sale of Twin Galaxies; the technical cabinet testing of Carlos Pineiro; the setup of a recording device for one of Mitchell’s high-score performances; a supposed “Player of the Century” plaque Mitchell says he had received from Namco; and a technical analysis that showed, according to Tashroudian, “that the videotaped recordings of his score in questions could not have come from original unmodified Donkey Kong hardware.”

Tashroudian asked the court to impose sanctions on Mitchell—up to and including dismissing the case—for these and other “deliberate and egregious [examples of] discovery abuse throughout the course of this litigation by lying at deposition and by engaging in the spoliation of evidence with the intent to defraud the Court.” A hearing on both Mitchell and Tashroudian’s alleged actions was scheduled for later this week; Tashroudian could still face referral to the State Bar for his misconduct.

“Plaintiff wants nothing more than for me to be kicked off of this case,” Tashroudian continued in his apology statement. “I know this will not stop. I am now [Mitchell’s] and his counsel’s target. The facts support [Twin Galaxies’] defense and now [Mitchell] realizes that. He also realizes that he has dug himself into a hole by lying in discovery. I do not say that lightly.”

Mitchell, Tashroudian, and representatives for Twin Galaxies were not immediately available to respond to a request for comment from Ars Technica.


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