NEWS - Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Plaintiff’s Lawyer Talks 360 Class Action

In late November, lawyers for California resident Kevin Ray filed a class action lawsuit against Microsoft in a Washington state district court. The plaintiff claims that following the October 31 fall update download for Xbox 360, his system was “bricked,” or rendered useless. Numerous complaints of a similar nature appeared on blogs and message board threads, prompting Ray to file the lawsuit on behalf of not only himself, but also others who had experienced the same problem. Microsoft is accused of breach of contract, violation of Washington’s Consumer Protection Act and negligence. Law firms handling the case are Atlanta-based Chitwood Harley Harnes, Seattle-based Keller Rohrback and Los Angeles-based Kabateck Brown Kellner. "According to the complaint, the plaintiff and class are asking for awards worth at least $5,000,000, although this amount could vary depending on how many people were affected by fall update issues. The complaint said thousands could have been affected by similar fall update problems. Next-Gen spoke with Brian Kabateck, senior partner at Kabateck Brown Kellner, who admitted that his firm has "no idea" what the actual amount of damages sought after actually is, because it’s unclear how many people this issue has affected (although Microsoft claimed shortly after the update that less than 1 percent of Xbox 360 users were affected). The firm pleaded the $5,000,000 amount as a procedural measure for the Federal Court in order to make sure the plaintiff and law firm had triggered appropriate jurisdiction. Kabateck contested Microsoft’s official claim that the company would pay all shipping, repair and/or replacement costs for affected consoles. “If that were true, that would go a long way to solving the problem,” Kabateck said. “Unfortunately, all the reports we’re getting is that Microsoft is saying ’Send your Xbox in and for 140 bucks we’ll fix it.’ In our opinion, they’re turning their screw-up into a profit center.” Microsoft has yet to respond to the law firm.

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