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Nintendo Businesses Government The Courts Wii News

Wiimote Straps Result in Class Action Suit 812

Posted by Zonk
from the sigh dept.
Kotaku reports the news that problems with breaking Wiimote straps has resulted in a class action lawsuit against Nintendo. From the press release about the suit: "Green Welling LLP filed a nationwide class action lawsuit on behalf of the owners of the Nintendo Wii against Nintendo of America, Inc., in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. The class action lawsuit arose as result of the defective nature of the Nintendo Wii. In particular, the Nintendo Wii game console includes a remote and a wrist strap for the remote. Owners of the Nintendo Wii reported that when they used the Nintendo remote and wrist strap, as instructed by the material that accompanied the Wii console, the wrist strap broke and caused the remote to leave the user's hand. Nintendo's failure to include a remote that is free from defects is in breach of Nintendo's own product warranty."
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Wiimote Straps Result in Class Action Suit

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  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @12:43PM (#17301634) Homepage Journal
    then Nintendo would have a valid counterclaim.
    • by Pulse_Instance (698417) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @12:51PM (#17301810)
      I don't think stupidity should be illegal, but we should stop protecting stupid people so much. Unless there is a legitimate concern here, I haven't used one so I don't know, then having to replace a TV you broke by being stupid should teach you to not be stupid anymore. The American society seems to encourage people to be stupid.
      • by Tom (822) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @01:27PM (#17302422) Homepage Journal
        By now I have quite a few hours of playtime down, most of it with friends. Not once has a Wiimote left the hands of its player, even though some of us have played with enthusiasm. If you look at the videos on YouTube, you'll see that in those where the straps broke, there are always two things:

        a) The player's hands were sweaty, and I don't mean a little bit
        b) The Wiimote was literally thrown into a wall at full speed, as in "everything you've got".

        Yeah, you can get into the game, but if you stand in your living room throwing something at the TV with the maximum amount of power you can muster, then anyone with more than 3 brain cells should realize he's doing something potentially dangerous.

        Plus there is no advantage I've noticed to putting that much power into your movements. In all the games I've played so far, timing is more important than raw power.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Samus (1382)
          The only advantage that I have seen is in Wii Sports Baseball. The manual says that the faster you "throw" the remote, the faster the pitch will go. I've noticed this to some small extent. That said, I have two boys ages 4 & 6 and never have the controllers left their hands when they are playing. My 4 year old is especially "active" and the only problem I've had is him creeping up to the TV during boxing.
          • by Viper Daimao (911947) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @03:47PM (#17304564) Journal
            I'll cop out to this. This is how I broke my wrist strap. Playing baseball I was getting annoyed at how hard it was to get the ball to go above 70something mph. So I devised a clever(read:foreshadowing for dumb) technique of actually throwing the remote, and letting the wrist strap cause it to loop around my wrist afterwards. I'm proud to say I was then throwing in the mid to low 90s, but after about 3 or 4 times the wrist strap broke.

            That's all that broke though, and I accept full blame for anything else that might have broken. People have to realize that it's not the company's fault that your kids started acting like kids and broke their new toy. Breaking stuff is what kids do.
            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by miro f (944325)
              just give the remote a quick flick with your wrist. I get 150km/h fastballs every time
      • by nanojath (265940) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @02:30PM (#17303462) Homepage Journal
        It's a shame class action suits are such lawyer bait - there just ain't no cream like the cream you skim off the top of a megacorporation's liability to an honest to goodness population. Of course, with class action suits it's more like they skim off the whole milk and give that long-suffering population the whey

        I think they geniuses responsible for this one will regret it, though. Some will say Nintendo invited this by offering strap replacement (and general advice on not playing like a full-on spaz), but I think they merely observed the inevitable and effectively froze the potential plaintiff pool.

        It looks to me like they're trying to wrangle the notion of some sort of harm being done to people by simply receiving a defective product - whether or not it actually harmed them - but I sincerely doubt (particularly since Nintendo has addressed the problem very early on) that this will fly. Or they may think Nintendo will spook easily and cough up a decent pay-off with little effort... but I think they will find themselves disappointed if so - like all major corporations Nintendo has lawyers just sitting around waiting for stuff like this. Thus only people with some claim to actual harm will be able to apply, and there won't be enough of them to make bringing this suit even remotely (wiimotely?) pay off. Hah hah.

        In short, while my first reaction is that this story was merely about greed, on reflection yes, it's equally about stupidity.

        • by drcln (98574) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @04:30PM (#17305372)
          Its about "discovery" and "production." When a lawsuit is filed, the plaintiff gets the right to go on a fishing expedition in the defendant's files, emails, factories and to depose personnel. It is a burdensome and ridiculously expensive process for the defendant, who has to "produce" all the discovery material. And who knows what they might find? Even with a bogus claim, if the plaintiff's lawyers can survive long enough to force discovery, the cost and burden alone may make it worth Nintendo's money to just pay the plaintiff lawyers' "fees" to go away and send all Wii owners a $5 coupon for a Wii accessory in a "settlement" that is really a marketing campaign. That is at the heart of this game.

              Of course, the cost of settlement is simply passed along to those poor saps that are represented by these lawyers in the higher cost of Wii games and accessories. Only the lawyers win.
    • by Noxx (74567) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @01:48PM (#17302756)
      Stupidity in nature is a crime which carries the death penalty...unfortunately civilization allows probation instead.

    • by rucs_hack (784150) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @02:34PM (#17303514)
      I've looked at a lot of these images of screwed televisions and so on. It strikes me that the main problem is that people who normally spend their time sat down twiddling with buttons on controllers are so inept at normal exercise that they can't manage a simple thing like not chucking a controller.

      It also occurs to me that some people sit glued to the news 24/7 trying to find another opportunity for a frivolous lawsuit that might net them an easy buck.

  • Wait... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Aadain2001 (684036) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @12:45PM (#17301656) Journal
    Didn't I read recently that Nintendo was issuing a massive recall/replacement program to replace the straps on all the Wiimotes? How can you sue a company who is completely willing to fix the problem is a very timely manor (1 month)? Or is this lawyer just a greedy bastard?
    • Re:Wait... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Jarjarthejedi (996957) <christianpinchNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @12:51PM (#17301792) Journal
      He's suing a company that's willing to help solve a problem that's not their fault (as the strap is NOT intended to stop the Wiimote if it's thrown but rather intended to keep you from dropping it). Nintendo has, frankly, done everything you could expect of a company in their position. People are using their devices improperly and then blaming Nintendo for damage. It's the same as if you have one of those shake-to-recharge flashlights and you let it go and it broke your T.V., could you blame the company who made those for anything? No, because it's your fault. Nintendo doesn't really need to do anything, the Wii works as advertised as does the Wiimote. It's not their fault that people are being idiots with the thing, and so their offering to replace straps with heavier-duty ones is generous of them.

      And watch, I'm calling it, Nintendo will lose. Because in America, land of the free, home of the brave, you can get money out of McDonalds for spilling coffee on yourself. Some days I love being an American, and then there are days where a company gets sued for doing more than should rationally be expected of them.
      • Re:Wait... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Aadain2001 (684036) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @12:58PM (#17301948) Journal
        Personally, I hate references to the old woman who spilled coffee on herself as a stupid lawsuit. If you actually look in deeper, you will find that the coffee was so hot, it scalded and caused horrible burns. I don't care how stupid she was, if you get coffee spilled on you you should only have to worry about having wet clothes, not burns that require hospitalization. So please, stop using that reference. She was injured because McDonalds kept their coffee at an unsafe temperature.
        • She was injured because McDonalds kept their coffee at an unsafe temperature.
          Presumably if it had been cooler it wouldn't have had sufficient energy to leap out of the pot and swoop in for the attack?
        • Re:Wait... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Nasarius (593729) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @01:07PM (#17302092)
          Third-degree burns, to be specific. It annoys me that this case, in which the woman sued McDonalds only for medical expenses after getting THIRD DEGREES BURNS from a CUP OF COFFEE, is somehow held up as the quintessential frivolous lawsuit. It's not. Stop mentioning it.
          • Re:Wait... (Score:4, Insightful)

            by RexRhino (769423) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @02:09PM (#17303120)
            It is not the quintessential frivolous lawsuit - That would be the racist woman who sued her employer claiming that her racism was a medical condition, and by the employer forcing her to work with black coworkers, that he was violating the Americans with Disabilities act. (She won several million dollars if I remember correctly.)

            However, the act of drinking a hot beverage is something that everyone has done... so it resonates with all of us. It is so common place and basic, and everyone knows that coffee is hot and can fucking burn you. And people know that something fundamental has changed in our culture when someone else is held responsible when you spill coffee on yourself. It might not be the worse case of tort abuse, but it is the point in time when most of us realized just how stupid the legal system was getting, and just how much this stupidity was costing us as a society.
        • Re:Wait... (Score:4, Informative)

          by Charcharodon (611187) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @02:08PM (#17303106)

          She was injured because McDonalds kept their coffee at an unsafe temperature

          McDonald's appealed and she lost. Someone got her on a talk show and got her to blab about the case. The host also had a slew of coffee makers and places tested for coffee temp. Turns out Mc Donald's didn't serve their coffee any hotter than anyone else, including her own home personal coffee maker. That along with the fact that the lawyer was taking something like 80% of the claim, which at the time was considered outrageous, ended up getting the whole thing reduced to her medical expenses plus a much smaller reward for pain and suffering of which the lawyer got his 80%, in other words very little.

          There was one thing that did change about the whole thing, the togo coffee cups were improved quite a bit. The lids pre-lawsuit were pretty crappy, the ones now you can drop and expect the lid to stay on most of the time.

          It still boils down to one thing you shouldn't put near boiling liquids down by your privates. (She had it held between her legs.)

    • Re:Wait... (Score:5, Funny)

      by thebdj (768618) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @12:51PM (#17301798) Journal
      Or is this lawyer just a greedy bastard?

      Does a bear shit in the woods? Is the pope catholic? These are all questions with one pretty clear answer...
  • by CerebusUS (21051) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @12:46PM (#17301680)
    Owners of the Nintendo Wii reported that when they used the Nintendo remote and wrist strap, as instructed by the material that accompanied the Wii console, the wrist strap broke and caused the remote to leave the user's hand.

    The owner's manual pretty clearly states not to let go of the thing.

    I hope this lawsuit fails.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @12:58PM (#17301928)
      "the wrist strap broke and caused the remote to leave the user's hand"

      I would think that the remote leaving the user's had would cause the strap to break. Maybe thats the problem. The straps are propelling the wiimotes!
  • Hey Rocky! (Score:5, Funny)

    by AnswerIs42 (622520) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @12:47PM (#17301690) Homepage
    What Bullwinkle?
    Watch me pull a lawsuit out of my a**!

    This will most likely get swept under the rug and forgotten.
  • Web Site of Lawyers (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MyLongNickName (822545) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @12:47PM (#17301708) Journal
    Want to share your thoughts on the validity of this suit? Click here [classcounsel.com]
  • Ridiculous (Score:5, Informative)

    by Grym (725290) * on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @12:47PM (#17301712)

    No where in the instructions does it say that you should ever let go of the remote. Honestly, if you can't hold onto the thing, maybe you should practice a little more self-restraint and control.

    What's next? Does Nintendo have to include a helmet for the possibility that someone might hit themselves in the head?

    -Grym

  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @12:48PM (#17301720)
    A bunch of hyperactive excited morons with too much muscle break their TV, punch their friends in the face or cut themselves with the Wii remote, and they sue Nintendo, because naturally, Nintendo should be blamed for not making hardware solid enough for hyperactive excited morons?

    I'm sorry, but I'm tried a friend's Wii and there's no way I would have dropped or launched the remote across the window, simply because I realize it's only an electronic game, and it doesn't cross my mind to treat a delicate piece of electronic like a jokari paddle. Talk about a lawyer-happy nation... Either that or they're trying to make a cheap buck off of Nintendo's back. Either way, I hope the morons lose.
  • by CokeBear (16811) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @12:50PM (#17301776) Journal
    the wrist strap broke and caused the remote to leave the user's hand

    Impossible. The wrist strap breaking does not cause the remote to leave your hand. Its the other way around - only if you repeatedly let go of the remote with considerable force does the wrist strap break, and even then if you just hold onto the remote you don't have a problem.

    As an aside, I wouldn't be surprised to find xBox or PS3 fanboys at the root of this...

  • oh my.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dolson (634094) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @12:51PM (#17301800) Homepage Journal
    Owners of the Nintendo Wii reported that when they used the Nintendo remote and wrist strap, as instructed by the material that accompanied the Wii console, the wrist strap broke and caused the remote to leave the user's hand.

    Umm, the wrist strap does not break UNLESS the remote has already left the user's hand...

    Nintendo should counter-sue the parents because they raised defective children.
  • by kinglink (195330) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @12:52PM (#17301818)
    If anyone tries to work with idiotic lawyers like this (no matter for money or for hatred of Nintendo) I'll lose all respect for them. Not that I have much for them in the first place for releasing the controller but that's another story.

    Hell the class action suit makes no sense. "As instructed by the material that accompanied the Wii console" funny the book that says numerous times to use the controller but put on the wrist strap? Or did I miss a page where it says "release the controller, it's fun". Nope guess not. Especially the part of the strap breaking is causing the controller to fly out of your hands. That's pure BS, tasty too.

    Hell Nintendo is replacing the straps for free, not even calling for a mandatory recall, but the court case doesn't even meantion the tvs that are damaged. Personally that's what I'd care about, not the remote that probably still works, but the 3 inch hole in the wall from the impact of the remote.

    Why is it when ever there's some news story about a defect (or retards in this case). There's always a second group of retards (normally called lawyers) who tries to get "rich" off of it? Simple solution. Stop supporting frivilious lawsuits. It'd be one thing if Nintendo told you to release the controller, or Nintendo did something neglegent, but there's no sign of that.
  • Disgusting (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Deluxe_247 (743837) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @12:52PM (#17301834)
    Wow, I feel like someone just puked their hands and rubbed it all over my body. This is absolutly rediculous.

    Nintendo adds a wrist strap as a safety feature, so stupid people who have 'grip' problems (small peens perhaps?) don't throw the Wiimote around. A group of morons (ok ok, maybe they were drunk and ... how did NPR put it?... overzealous?) break a few TVs, and now all of a sudden Nintendo is libel for a defective console?

    Yea, great. Im sure this is REALLY going to make Nintendo warm to us Americans. You wonder why they don't port a lot of games over to the US, and you wonder why in some games prior to the port they 'dumb it down' thinking its 'too hard for westerners.' (I wish I could find the article that I got this information from.. I thought it was BS at the time, but now Im thinking it might have been credible.)

    Nintendo comes out of left field with a great console, thats tons of fun for all ages... And some douchebags who are looking to make a quick buck want to file a lawsuit against them for breaking a WRIST STRAP which didnt' even need to be added in the first place?

    wiihaveaproblem.com - 29 broken straps out of... 1million+ consoles (probably near double that in controllers)
    wiidamage.com - 3 broken straps reported

    I love the US, but sometimes I just have a hard time being 'proud to be an American.'

    (I reserve the right to not check my spelling or grammar. Deal with it!)
  • it's funny. . . (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AcidLacedPenguiN (835552) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @12:53PM (#17301838)
    . . . that the Nintendo Wii seems to be overly protective of my well being. Every time you go to use the damn thing it'll warn you about seizures, ask you to wear the wrist strap and fasten it securely to your wrist, hell, it even tells you to take a break and go outside after every couple of Wii Sports matches you do. I honestly don't know of any where in the instructions or warranties that asks you politely to "Throw the remote at about 60mph directly at your television, making sure to let go of the remote at the end of your swing."

    If only the photosensitive seizure warnings were accompanied with a "warning: don't be an overly retarded douchebag who doesn't actually read any of the instructions, then blame your retardedness and douchebaggery on those aforementioned instructions." Why, Nintendo? Why?
  • Does not compute (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CODiNE (27417) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @03:01PM (#17303898) Homepage
    Owners of the Nintendo Wii reported that when they used the Nintendo remote and wrist strap, as instructed by the material that accompanied the Wii console, the wrist strap broke and caused the remote to leave the user's hand.


    So basically the lawyers are claiming that the remote was firmly IN HAND when the strap somehow magically broke itself, which then caused the holder of the remote to let go of it, further causing expensive property damage.

    This is a new era of legal blame-shifting, no longer is "The devil made me do it" required in court, you can now simply say "The wrist strap made me do it".
  • My solution (Score:4, Funny)

    by Guppy06 (410832) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @04:33PM (#17305422)
    If anybody reading this is having such a problem, I'd be more than willing to help you with your problem and take that defective console off your hands for you. I'm willing to take this burden in the spirit of Christmas.
  • Wrong-way-round (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GoRK (10018) <johnl AT blurbco DOT com> on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @04:43PM (#17305594) Homepage Journal
    I believe the instructions clearly indicate that you should wear the strap *and* not let go.

    I fail to see how the strap could break and CAUSE the remote to leave the users hand. In fact, I don't see how it would even be possible for the strap to break under normal use while the user was holding the remote properly.

    I do see how the remote leaving the user's hand (because it's thrown at full force) could CAUSE the strap to break.

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