Disco Elysium studio says lawsuits from former members have been resolved

The messy saga of Disco Elysium studio ZA/UM – which has been embroiled in a series of legal tussles relating to the involuntary departure of key team members in 2021 – has reached a new milestone, with the company announcing several of those lawsuits have now been resolved.

It’s a story that first made headlines last October, when ZA/UM founder Martin Luiga claimed Disco Elysium designer Robert Kurvitz, writer Helen Hindpere, and art director Aleksander Rostov had been fired following the company’s takeover by Estonian businessmen Ilmar Kompus (now ZA/UM CEO), and Tõnis Haavel, previously convicted of investment fraud.

Not long after confirming the news of their departure, Kurvitz and Rostov shared an open letter claiming Kompus and Haavel’s takeover of ZA/UM was fraudulent and that they were booted out of the studio while trying to discover more. Kompus and Haavel then fired back, insisting the former employees had been dismissed for “belittling women and co-workers”, creating a “toxic environment”, and “intending to steal IP”.

Disco Elysium – The Final Cut trailer.

In the midst of all this, Kurvitz and Rostov launched what ZA/UM has referred to as “unfair dismissal” cases against the studio, and a third former employee – executive producer and marketing manager Kaur Kender – started his own legal battle, alleging he’d also been fired from ZA/UM for asking questions of its new management.

Three months on, ZA/UM has issued a press release announcing all three cases are resolved. Kurvitz and Rostov are said to have dropped their legal disputes due to a lack of evidence, while Kender has now “divested all his shares in the studio, repaid all his debts to the studio”, and, as per a court order, reimbursed Kompus for the legal costs associated with his lawsuit, which was withdrawn in December. Additional details of the agreement remain “confidential”.

In a statement included in ZA/UM’s press release, Kender said, “After leaving my full-time role, I filed a lawsuit which I realised, after seeing the facts, was misguided.”

Kompus added, “As this transaction shows, open discussions are the best way to clear up misunderstandings and differences, especially when it’s for the benefit of the team. We’ve approached this with the collective interest of ZA/UM and our incredible team in mind, and we are glad to have reached a full resolution.”

ZA/UM says it “continues to address a series of baseless allegations from former employees who mounted a legal and PR campaign against [the studio]”, and that it “expects more of their claims to fall apart under legal and factual scrutiny.”

“Meanwhile, ZA/UM Studio continues to thrive,” it insists. “The creative and collaborative powerhouse has been welcoming a cascade of new and incredible talent who are all taking pleasure in unleashing their hearts and minds.”

Whether the studio’s attempts to “build on the popularity and success of Disco Elysium” can re-capture the magic its breakout release remains to be seen.

Source link