Many people in the last few weeks have grumbled about Pokémon GO players trespassing on private property. One of these grumblers is now taking Niantic to court. Plaintiff Jeffrey Marder of West Orange, New Jersey is filing a $5 million USD class action lawsuit against Niantic.
Marder noted that within the first week of Pokémon GO’s release, at least five players knocked on his door asking to catch Pokémon that were in his backyard. These Pokémon were generated in his backyard without his permission. Marder’s situation is far from unique and he has therefore filed the lawsuit on behalf of those in a similar predicament.
The class action complaint document noted a number of similar instances. Boon Sheridan, a resident of Holyoke, Massachusetts, reported that Niantic had placed a Pokémon gym in his home. His home was once a church, and within one day, fifteen people and three cars stopped in front of his private property. Niantic placed a Pokéstop at a private residence in Albuquerque, New Mexico that is famous as the home from the television series Breaking Bad. At least three Pokéstops were placed in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum while another was found in a cemetery in Mobile, Alabama.
Pokémon GO in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
On the Pokémon GO website, Niantic has advised players with the statement, “If you can’t get to the Pokéstop because it’s on private property, there will be more just around the corner, so don’t worry!” In its latest update, Niantic warns players to not trespass on private property.
The class action suit claims that Pokémon GO prevents “one’s use and enjoyment of their land” and that these Pokéstops and Pokémon increased “the game’s popularity and profitability, while encouraging millions of Pokémon GO players to make incursions onto the properties of Plaintiff and other members of the proposed Class.” Marder is demanding a trial by jury and a court date has yet to be set.