Property Owners Sue Pokémon Go Players in Federal Court

A lawsuit against Niantic Inc. and Nintendo Co., the makers of  “Pokémon Go,” was filed in federal court on Friday in California. In an effort to keep “Pokemon Go” players away from his property, Jeffrey Marder, a California resident from West Orange, New Jersey, claims that users of the smartphone app known as Pokémon Go have been loitering on his property since the release of the game in July 2016. According to the suit, at least five people, whom he identified as complete strangers, have knocked on the front door of his private residence requesting access to the backyard of his home to catch a Pokémon placed there virtually by the game. The defendants “have shown a flagrant disregard for the foreseeable consequences of populating the real world with virtual Pokémon without seeking the permission of property owners.”  The suit is currently seeking class action status to include others with Pokemon “stops” and “gyms” located on their private property.

Pokestops-safty-concern-child-care-center-quoteDesignated locations within the game called “Pokestops,” require that players visit each of one the sites to receive rewards, and it appears that even more sensitive locations, such as the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum haven’t been spared the intrusion. Holocaust Memorial spokesman Andrew Hollinger said that the museum has been subsequently removed from the game per its wishes. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Japan, as well as the Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., have also requested removal from the “Pokémon Go” location maps.

“Pokestops” became a serious safety concern when a large number of strangers were sighted walking about the grounds and parking lot of the Little Blessings Child Care Center. The Portsmouth Herald reported that daycare director Diane Lewis sent letters to parents and its two dozen employees alerting them of the potential danger. The daycare has since taken action to be removed from the game. Another complaint to the “Pokemon Go” company came from a daycare center in New Hampshire and was reportedly removed from the game after repeated incidences of strangers lurking about the property.

Spokespersons for Niantic Inc. and Nintendo Co. were not immediately available for comment. However, Pokémon Company Marketing director J.C. Smith stated in an interview this week that updates are currently being made to the game.