US Supreme Court agrees to hear Microsoft appeal in Xbox360 case
Jan 18, 2016 07:21 PM EST
The U.S. Supreme Court announced last week that it has agreed to hear an appeal relating to a class action case filed by several Xbox 360 owners against Microsoft. The Xbox owners claimed that a defect in Microsoft's Xbox 360 console was prone to scratching game discs and made them uplayable.
The Supreme Court said on Friday last week that it will not hear Microsoft's argument and rule on the actual case. The high court announced it will focus on review a ruling made by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in March 2015 on the issue of whether the plaintiffs can challenge a lower court's decision to deny the class certification request.
The plaintiffs seek for a class certification in the lawsuit that can result in larger damages or a wider range of legal remedies compared to individual lawsuits that can be too expensive to pursue, Reuters reported.
The lawsuit was originally brought in 2012, claiming that Xbox 360's optical disc drive cannot withstand even small vibrations that causes game discs to spin out of control and become scratched, rendering them unplayable.
The Xbox owners accused the tech company of allowing a design defect on the video game console. They accused Microsoft of knowing about the design defect before the Xbox 360 launched in 2005. The lawsuit said there were as many as 55,000 complaints about the scratching issue by 2008, according to Ars Technica.
Microsoft said the cause of the scratch is the misuse from Xbox 360 owners, and that the class certification was improper because just 0.4 percent of more than 80 million Xbox owners reported disc scratches.
The lawsuit was dismissed in 2012 by a federal judge, saying that there weren't enough compliants for a class action, but in March 2015 that ruling was overtuned.
In Friday decision, the Supreme Court said it would decide if the appeals court had jurisdistion "to review an order denying class certification after the named plaintiffs voluntarily dismiss their individual claims with prejudice."
According to Forbes, plaintiff lawyers in the case agreed to dismiss their claims as a tactic to press an appeal of a lower court's rejection of a class action suit. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals allowed this unusual tactic while normally such interlocutory appeals are denied.
In this Xbox case, plaintiff lawyers have made a twist on the tactic by voluntarily dismissing their cases to create a final judgment which they then seek to appeal. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, relying on a 2014 ruling of its own, finally agreed to hear an appeal on the case.