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Nintendo Prevails in 'Flying Wii Controller' Class Action Lawsuit

Wiitv The Abnormal Use blog has an interesting post today about a recent decision by a federal court in Colorado concerning people who accidentally throw their Nintendo Wii controller through the screens of their television sets, through windows and so on. For the three of you out there who do not know what I'm talking about, playing games on the Wii, like tennis or baseball, involves swinging the controller like a racket or a bat, and sometimes people lose their grip on the controller. Each comes with a wrist strap that you might assume would keep a wayward controller from flying accross the room into your TV, but that assumption was the hotly-contested subject of the class action litigation in Colorado.

In the class action, plaintiffs argued that the wrist straps were inadequate to serve their purpose. On Sept. 23, 2010, U.S. District Judge Marcia S. Krieger, however, granted summary judgment in favor of Nintendo in the case (Elvig, et al. v. Nintendo of America, Inc.).  The court rejected the class action's allegations under the Colorado Consumer Protection Act, as well as its claim that Nintendo breached the implied warranty of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. Among other things, the court took a very broad view of what the "purpose" of a wrist strap might be:

On the implied warranty of merchantability, the court cited the lack of evidence that would indicate what the intended purpose of the strap was. One might plausibly assume, as plaintiff did, that the strap was intended to prevent a controller, inadvertently released by the player during vigorous activity, from hurling towards the player’s television (or towards another player) and causing damage. But equally, one might assume that the strap was simply intended to keep an inadvertently released controller in the vicinity of the player so that it could be easily retrieved and was was never intended to withstand the forces of high-speed controller release.

In this case, I must agree with Abnormal Use, which writes that "to surmise that the wrist strap is designed to do anything but keep the controller strapped to your wrist is a bit of a stretch" on the part of the court. Abnormal Use also points out that some television makers are making the best of the flying controller phenomenon, offering Wii-proof screens!

Posted by Bruce Carton on October 12, 2010 at 01:13 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)


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