If you owned an Xbox 360, you also had a good chance of eventually owning a broken Xbox 360. And now, Microsoft may have to pay.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has reinstated a class-action lawsuit against Microsoft that alleges the Xbox 360 shipped with a defect that damaged game discs (via Reuters). This is a reversal of a lower-court decision that struck down the complaint. Microsoft has denied these claims, but it was widely reported that the 360 could easily scratch or gouge a disc if system was moved in any way while turned on. But the complaint says that the Xbox 360 could potentially damage a disc even after the smallest vibration, which is sometimes unavoidable. Keep in mind this is different from the infamous Red Ring of Death issue, which was an entirely different defect that plagued the 360.
We’ve reached out to Microsoft, and we’ll update this report with its statement.
The company’s defense so far is that this case is not eligible for a class-wide suit since it claims that less than a half of 1 percent of Xbox 360 owners reported a problem. It also claims that consumer misuse is the true culprit.
It was the lack of customer complaints that convinced U.S. District Judge Ricardo Matinez in Seattle to throw out the class-action suit in the first place. But the 9th Court found that this was a misapplication of previous precedent.
Circuit Judge Johnnie Rawlinson wrote the following as part of the court’s decision:
“Plaintiffs’ breach of express warranty claim presents a common factual question — is there a defect? — and a common mixed question of law and fact — does that defect breach the express warranty? The district court erred in finding that individual issues of causation predominate over these common questions.”
Put plainly, if the defect exists (even if few people complained), the case then has merit.
The case now returns to Martinez in the U.S. District Court in Seattle.
“We’ve won in the lower court previously and believe the facts are on our side,” a Microsoft spokesperson told Reuters.