For those of us playing Pokémon Go, living right next to a Pokéstop or gym might be a dream come true. But for those untouched by the craze who find themselves in that situation, it may be less appealing.
Jeffrey Marder of West Orange, New Jersey, is pursuing a class action lawsuit against Niantic Labs. His complaint doesn't specifically state that his house is labeled in the game as either, though. Regardless, should the class action be certified, it would include any property owner whose land is listed as Pokéstop or gym. It would also cover those whose property abuts land listed as one of those.
In his filing, Marder says that multiple people have knocked on his door asking to catch Pokémon in his back yard. "Plaintiff discovered as much when, during the week of Pokémon Go’s release, strangers began lingering outside of his home with their phones in hand," the complaint reads. "At least five individuals knocked on Plaintiff’s door and asked for access to Plaintiff’s backyard in order to “catch” Pokémon that the game had placed at Plaintiff’s residence in West Orange, New Jersey—without Plaintiff’s permission."
What's unclear is why anyone would need to enter a specific area to catch a Pokémon that already appeared on the map. Once the icon is visible, users need only tap on it to enter the Pokéball minigame to collect the creature.
The complaint also attempts to leverage tweets from a homeowner named Boon Sheridan, who tweeted about his house (a former church) being listed as a gym. When contacted by ABC News, Sheridan said that it was "barely a nuisance" and that he was "shocked by being named in someone's lawsuit, because I had no problem with it."
Marder's court filing also points out that sensitive locations, like the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, included in-game locations. Niantic has taken steps to remove those Pokéstops and Gyms. It also has been handling requests for removal, like one filed by Sheridan, quickly. He told ABC that it took only 48 hours to have the gym removed from his house.
We've reached out to Niantic for comment. We'll update should we receive a response.
I find it suspicious that the filing doesn't specifically state that Marder's home is located within the activation radius of a gym or Pokéstop. The facts also don't seem to quite line up, though while Pokévision was operational, it's possible that users knew there was a Pokémon, but couldn't get close enough to activate it. This complaint could just be poorly worded by someone with no understanding of the game, but as it stands, it seems suspicious.