Ten years later, Xbox 360 scratched disk case makes it to the US Supreme Court, sorta

Kit McDonald

Xbox 360 console

Nearly ten years later, a case that Xbox fans have been pushing for against Microsoft is finally being looked at by the U.S. Supreme Court. But not necessarily in the way that they wanted.

As GeekWire explained in detail, there has been a bit of back and forth to sift through about the lawsuit in the last decade. Users of Xbox 360 filed against Microsoft claiming that the console scratched game disks, ruining them and costing more money than intended. The problem, however, was that the group of gamers were denied filing status as a class action. Because they couldn’t sue as a group, the gamers then tried to take Microsoft as individual cases. But those got thrown out because the cost of the games was minimal compared to rather expensive court proceedings.

So instead of accepting the loss, many (former?) Xbox users decided to voluntarily dismiss the lawsuit. It might sound counter-productive, but instead, it was a tactic to set Microsoft up for a later case. Legally, this meant the individuals could return to the case at a later date should they ever finally receive the class action status. These rulings were accepted by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Microsoft, however, doesn’t intend to let that fly it seems. Instead, the Redmond giant is bringing the legality of this turn of events into question. Today, the U.S. Supreme Court will be reviewing the case after five years of festering in hiatus. According to the court’s news post, if the strategy is found legally permissible the case would resume.

The voluntary-dismissal strategy, by contrast, stops the district court proceedings in their tracks pending appellate resolution of the certification decision. Thus, the strategy often leads to lengthy delays in the adjudication of the merits; courts traditionally oppose piecemeal interlocutory appeals primarily to avoid just such delays. On that point, it is greatly to Microsoft’s advantage that this case arose in one of the slowest courts of appeals.

Seth Baker, only one of the plaintiffs involved, argues that the dismissal is the only way for courts to realize the need for a class action lawsuit. Microsoft brings up the point that if the plaintiffs are willing to dismiss the case in a court of law, then it is implied that the claim is moot, and thus the need for class action.

If one thing is to be taken out of this, it is to be noted that gamers are some of the more determined people and Microsoft has crossed them. It will be interesting to see how the case proceeds further and we’ll be sure to follow it closely here at OnMSFT. Which side do you agree with most? We’d love to hear your opinion in the comments below.