Two lawsuits involving the gaming studio Stardock have been settled, and as part of the settlement, the ex-employee participating in both suits has written a letter apologizing to the studio for her involvement.
The first lawsuit, filed by Alexandra Miseta against Stardock CEO Brad Wardell in December of 2010, alleged that Wardell sexually harassed Miseta and that there was a “hostile work environment” at the company. That lawsuit was dismissed yesterday.
The second lawsuit, filed by Wardell against Miseta in federal court in August of 2012—though Wardell described that as a venue change and said he had initially filed his suit years prior—alleged that Miseta stole a laptop and deleted company documents when she left Stardock two years earlier. That lawsuit was dismissed on Friday, September 20.
Both lawsuits were dismissed as part of a settlement agreed to by Wardell and Miseta. One condition of the settlement was that Miseta draft up this letter of apology, sent to Kotaku by a representative for Wardell:
When contacted by Kotaku, neither Miseta nor her lawyer would comment for this story.
In a conversation this morning with Kotaku, Wardell said he was glad to put the legal mess behind him and that he agreed to settle with Miseta for the sake of “vindication.”
“Essentially, we agreed to dismiss each other’s cases—to drop our cases—in exchange for her apologizing to us,” Wardell said. “Once we’ve received that, we feel vindicated.”
No money was exchanged in the settlement, Wardell said, although he would not go into specifics about the allegations—”I think her letter kinda speaks for itself on that,” he said.
In her suit, Miseta alleged that Wardell had sent inappropriate e-mails to her, including a link to a sexually-explicit online “purity test” that Wardell today says was “spam.” The suit also alleged that Miseta “was subjected to repeated and near-daily comments, innuendos, advances, and other offensive conduct of a sexual nature” by Wardell.
Wardell’s suit, meanwhile, alleges that when Miseta left, she stole a laptop and destroyed “various data and other intellectual property” owned by Stardock. Last year, Miseta’s lawyers claimed that this suit was filed in retaliation for her allegations of sexual harassment, but Wardell denies that, telling Kotaku that both suits were originally filed around the same time, but that his suit against Miseta was delayed to August, 2012 as he decided to move it to federal court.
Both lawsuits were dismissed with prejudice, meaning they cannot be opened again.
“[We] were willing to go to trial,” Wardell said in an e-mail. “However, we believe her apology for having filed a lawsuit against us and for deleting our marketing assets was sufficient to justify letting this matter go. Hopefully, when people read something ugly about someone in the Internet they’ll be a bit more likely to reserve judgment. This was a difficult time for everyone involved. We hold no animus towards her and do not want to see her put into a bad light.”
Clarification, February 17, 2016: The third paragraph of this story has been updated to more clearly explain the timing of the suit against Miseta.
Above image: concept art from Stardock’s Elemental: Fallen Enchantress.