2017] WHEN THE VIRTUAL AND REAL WORLDS COLLIDE 333
hundred individuals, mostly staring at their cellphones, overran the area.6
These masses paid little regard to property owners in the neighborhood,
parking in front of driveways, trespassing on lawns, damaging landscaping,
and looking into windows.7 When asking one of these Pokémon Go players to
exit her property, Mrs. Gotts-Dodich received a reply of “shut up B****, or
To stop these alleged property violations, the Dodichs first went through
the game creator’s procedures for removing game elements from an area.9 In
reply to their multiple complaints, the Dodichs only received boilerplate
responses from the game creator, Niantic.10 Niantic did not remove Wahby
Park from the game.11 As a result, the Dodichs were left with no other option
than filing suit against the company.12
For years, the 62 residences of the Villas of Positano condominium
complex sat peacefully near the Hollywood Beach Boardwalk.13 These
Floridians are members of The Villas of Positano Condominium Association,
which is responsible for maintaining the facilities and property.14 With the
release of Pokémon Go in July 2016, the Villas residents were overwhelmed
with hundreds of individuals “behaving ‘like zombies, walking around
bumping into things.’”15 Soon after, the Villas residents learned that
“PokéStops” could be found on their private property.16 Additionally, they
discovered that rare Pokémon spawned on the property late at night and into
the early morning.17 As a result, Pokémon Go players allegedly trespassed on
6. Id. In the weeks following, at least five Pokémon Go players were ticketed for
misdemeanor trespass for being present after hours in Wahby Park, the land across from the
Dodichs’ home. Beth Dalbey, Pokémon Go Players Arrested for After-Hours Play at Park, ST. CLAIR
SHORES PATCH (July 18, 2016, 6:49 PM), http://patch.com/michigan/stclairshores/pokm on-
7. Complaint, supra note 1, at 15.
9. Id. at 16. The game developer, Niantic, provides a brief form for anyone seeking to
remove a PokéStop or Gym, two in-game elements that attract users. Request Removal of a PokéStop
or Gym, NIANTIC, https://support.pokemongo.nianticlabs.com/hc/en-us/requests/new?ticket_
form_id=341148 (last visited July 5, 2017) (clicking the dropdown bar under “PokéStop/Gym
issue,” “Private property” is listed as a reason for requesting removal).
10. Complaint, supra note 1, at 16–18.
11. See id. at 19 (ind icating that players continued to congregate at the park, including
organizing Facebook events).
12. Id. The Dodichs and other neighbors also took their grievances to Detroit’s Fox News
affiliate and eventually to St. Clair City Council. Hannah Saunders, Neighbors Fed Up with Pokemon
GO Players in Park Ask City to Act, FOX 2 DETROIT (July 31, 2016, 6:35 PM), http://www.
13. See Complaint, supra note 1, at 12–13 (showing Figure 3, a map of the Villas location with
game elements laid over).
14. Id. at 5.
15. Id. at 12.
16. Id. PokéStops are in-game locations where players can receive items. See infra note 45.
17. Complaint, supra note 1, at 12.