Xbox Class Action Claims Revived

A federal appeals court revived class action claims against Microsoft by Xbox 360 owners who say their video game consoles were defective.

Even though less than one-half a percent of Xbox owners had devices that allegedly had the optical disc drive defect, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the limited class size does not prevent the ability to assess claims on a class-wide basis.

The court sent the case back to U.S. District Judge Ricardo Martinez in Seattle to determine if the case can be certified as a class action.

The class action originally alleged that the Xbox optical disc drive was unable to withstand even the smallest vibrations.  During normal game playing discs could spin out of control and crash into internal console components, resulting in scratched discs that were left permanently unplayable, according to the court.

The original decision in a case, by a different trial judge, rejected class certification, based on a 9th Circuit precedent that was itself overturned 10 months later.

Judge Martinez then eliminated the class action claims in the case relying on the earlier trial judge’s findings in the case.  He said the later 9th Circuit decision did not undermine the basic decision in the Xbox case.

But the 9th Circuit reinstated the case saying its more recent precedent prevailed and Martinez must reconsider class status for the small group of plaintiffs.

Case: Baker v. Microsoft Corp., No. 12-35946


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