Former Telltale Games CEO and co-founder Kevin Bruner has filed a lawsuit against his former company. The lawsuit, filed in late February, claims a variety of allegations that include breach of contract.
Kevin Bruner, who co-founded the company in 2004 along with Dan Connors and Troy Molander, started out as chief technology officer before becoming CEO in January 2015. He was replaced as CEO in 2017 by Dan Connors, but remained on the board of directors. Bruner claims that the company was contractually obligated to provide him with informational support as he prepared to sell his holdings, but the company cut off communications. Around this time, Dan Connors moved to an advisory role as former Zynga executive Peter Hawley was hired as chief executive in September 2017. Bruner was then removed from the board, which he alleges was done without enough stock to cast legitimate votes. The lawsuit states:
The net effect of Bruner’s alleged removal from the board of directors was that Bruner was deprived of relevant insight into the management and financial state of Telltale and the value of its shares.
Telltale responded by calling the suit “meritless” and saying it was filed “…as an apparent means of extracting revenge on a company already under financial strain.” They add:
The Company is now working to turn around the decline that it experienced under Plaintiff’s stewardship.
This remark is a reference to recent issues that arose during Bruner’s tenure as CEO. Articles from the Verge and USgamer spoke of a toxic, chaotic, work culture where employees were driven to pump out new titles or abruptly perform project overhauls while sacrificing technical quality. What drew attention to these complaints was some news last November, two months into after Hawley become CEO and Bruner was removed from the board, that the company had to lay off 90 employees, about a quarter of their workforce.
Judge Roy Chernus has set the case management conference for July 17.