Baker v. Microsoft Corp.

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Law
  • Date Filed: 03-18-2015
  • Case #: 12-35946
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Rawlinson for the Court; Circuit Judge Hawkins; Concurrence by Circuit Judge Bea
  • Full Text Opinion

Individual causation does not need to be proven in a class action lawsuit where the plaintiffs are claiming that a design defect breached the express warranty.

A class action lawsuit was filed against Microsoft about a design defect in the Xbox 360 video game console. There were many reports that the console would gouge the game discs, leaving holes or dents in the discs, rendering them unplayable. Microsoft denied the defect by explaining that the disk gouging was likely due to consumer misuse since only 0.4% of users reported this problem. Additionally, Microsoft claimed a class action was inappropriate because each individual complaint about the defects required a fact-specific inquiry to determine causation. The district court stipulated a dismissal of the class action suit with prejudice, deferring to a similar lawsuit’s order. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit rejected Microsoft’s argument. The panel explained that while individual factors may affect the timing and the extent of the damage, those factors do not negate the fact that the consoles were sold in a defective state. The plaintiffs in this case were claiming that the defect in the design itself breached the express warranty on the console, and therefore individual causation did not need to be proven. The panel held that the issues at hand could be proven with general evidence of a blanket defect to show the breach in the warranty. REVERSED and REMANDED.

Advanced Search