Microsoft has taken a significant step to emerging victorious from a legal battle with Xbox 360 owners. The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled in the company's favor in an ongoing effort to fend off a customer-led class action claim.
The top court in the land ruled 8-0 in favor of overturning a 2015 decision by the San Francisco 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals. That decision meant Xbox 360 owners could appeal an earlier dismissal of their class action by a Seattle-based federal judge in 2012.
Owners of Microsoft's popular console claimed the device would ruin discs because of a design fault. The San Francisco Court of Appeal allowed owners to dismiss their own cases so they could appeal the original denial. Under normal circumstances, parties cannot appeal until a case has reached conclusion.
The U.S. Supreme Court says that the decision was invalid because voluntarily dismissing a case is not the final decision. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing for the court, says the appeal should not have progressed.
If the course taken by the plaintiffs was to be allowed, it would undermine rules “designed to guard against piecemeal appeals,” Ginsburg wrote.
The plaintiffs originally took up their claim through the federal court in 2011. The Xbox 360 owners argue that the design of the console gouged discs through the optical drive. Discs running on the device could not be protected from even small vibrations.
When spinning, the disc would become out of control and dislodge. Scratching was common, even when just playing normally, leaving the discs unusable.
Microsoft responded by saying a class action suit was inappropriate. The company argued only 0.4% of Xbox 360 owners reported such problems and said the damage was likely due to misuse.
Xbox 360 was one of the most successful consoles of all time and sold tens of millions of units.