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Nintendo Slapped With Wiimote Strap Lawsuit Once Again 356

Posted by Soulskill
from the it's-not-a-hula-hoop dept.
GameCyteSean writes "GameCyte is reporting that a new class-action lawsuit has challenged Nintendo's Wiimote straps once more. Interestingly, the suit was filed by the same lawyer who led the original 2006 attempt, and now argues that Nintendo hid records of broken TVs from the Consumer Product Safety Commission. From the article: 'This doesn't seem like a spurious accusation, either. Attached to the court filing (PDF) as a matter of public record is the very evidence Nintendo allegedly tried to hide: actual, internal Nintendo documents (PDF) where customer service reps received complaints of cracked televisions and broken Wiimote straps — and the corresponding Monthly Reports that Nintendo was compelled to file with the CPSC as part of their agreement.'"
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Nintendo Slapped With Wiimote Strap Lawsuit Once Again

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  • Get a life (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mlwmohawk (801821) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @11:55PM (#26086563)

    Seriously, if you break your TV with a remote, its your fault.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 12, 2008 @12:12AM (#26086649)

      This is how I picture the origins of the lawsuit: Some guy is playing a Star Wars game. He wants to make Obi-Wan do the force throw thing with his lightsaber, knowing that Obi-Wan's saber will fly back to him. So, he figures that if you need to swing the Wiimote to swing the lightsaber, logically, you must also throw the Wiimote to throw the lightsaber, and it, like the lightsaber, will return to his hand. Unfortunately, physics rears its ugly head, and he discovers that this is not the case, and decides that Nintendo owes him a new TV.

      • by deniable (76198)
        Force Unleashed came out this year and the first lawsuit came out not long after the Wii was released. I'd imagine it was more people bowling or pitching in baseball.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 12, 2008 @02:22AM (#26087239)

        This is how I picture the origins of the lawsuit: Some guy is playing a Star Wars game. He wants to make Obi-Wan do the force throw thing with his lightsaber, knowing that Obi-Wan's saber will fly back to him. So, he figures that if you need to swing the Wiimote to swing the lightsaber, logically, you must also throw the Wiimote to throw the lightsaber, and it, like the lightsaber, will return to his hand. Unfortunately, physics rears its ugly head, and he discovers that this is not the case, and decides that Nintendo owes him a new TV.

        That makes more sense. My first reaction was he was playing a porn game and got too excited.

        Posting AC so my wife won't hit me.

      • Re:Get a life (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jcr (53032) <jcrNO@SPAMmac.com> on Friday December 12, 2008 @02:51AM (#26087371) Journal

        It all started when he was a little kid and he dropped his ice cream. His mommy immediately gave him another one to make him quit crying.

        -jcr

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by TrekkieGod (627867)

          It all started when he was a little kid and he dropped his ice cream. His mommy immediately gave him another one to make him quit crying.

          To make him "quit" crying? If didn't assure your child that you would be getting him another ice cream immediately after he dropped his first one, you're a pretty goddamn horrible parent.

          Look, I'm all about teaching responsibility and consequences of your actions, but why are you punishing a child for an accident? If the child purposefully dropped it you'd have a point, but if I dropped my ice cream, I'd get my wallet out and buy another one.

          If you told your child to go to the person at the counter crying

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Just Some Guy (3352)

            Look, I'm all about teaching responsibility and consequences of your actions,

            No, you're not.

            but why are you punishing a child for an accident?

            There's a huge difference between punishing him and not buying him a replacement.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by DataBroker (964208)
            I have kids and proudly side with all of those "pretty goddamn horrible parent"-types. I teach my kids to be more careful by not enabling them to get a free replacement by being careless. Your point is that accidents happen and we will give exemptions for them. In my household, accidents happen and you learn to be more careful so that they don't happen again.

            More simple example: Yes Son, you dropped your ice cream. Take it as a lesson that next time you have an ice cream, you'll stop running around with
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by TrekkieGod (627867)

              Your point is that accidents happen and we will give exemptions for them. In my household, accidents happen and you learn to be more careful so that they don't happen again.

              No, my point is teaching that when you have an accident, you need to brush it off and try again. It's important to explain to them that the ice cream isn't free, that you're spending money, and to be careful. If the kid threw the ice cream on the ground, or was running around carrying the ice cream, that's another story, but kids have poor motor coordination. Accidents happen for no fault of their own.

              If I'm buying a kid ice cream outside the house, and he accidentally drops it, I make him clean it up an

          • by dwarg (1352059) on Friday December 12, 2008 @01:08PM (#26093223)

            Good point. You should also make sure they pay you back for that second ice cream and charge them a reasonable interest rate until they do, compounded daily of course. That way if they don't have the required funds in the piggy bank when they get home they will be saddled with debt. I wouldn't recommend prepossessing anything of theirs as collateral, that would be cruel, just string them along with minimal payments and subtle threats until you've made enough money to put them through college. Then they'll understand the American way of easy credit.

            Damn, we're gonna be great parents.

      • I use a projector on a solid cement wall... maybe that's the answer for these people. At least it will cost Nintendo less to replace controllers than to replace LCD/Plasma TVs.

    • by cjfs (1253208) on Friday December 12, 2008 @12:24AM (#26086711) Homepage Journal

      Seriously, if you break your TV with a remote, its your fault.

      I disagree. Clearly my inability to hold on to a remote with my greasy cheetos-covered hand is a fundamental online rights issue. Hence the tags for this story.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's not that they just whipped the remote at the T.V, it's the fact that they all had it attached to their wrist so even if you let go, it won't go anywhere (ideally). The lawsuit is over the wristband itself being nothing more than a false sense of security.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Chris Burke (6130)

        The lawsuit is over the wristband itself being nothing more than a false sense of security.

        And I have to admit, that's always been the most surprising part to me, that the wiimote strap was under-engineered instead of over. Nintendo doesn't usually slouch on the durability of their products. There's tons of videos out there where the wiimote will hit a tv, a wall, the floor, etc, but the wiimote always works just fine even after multiple impacts. I saw one where some frat boy was playing Wii Baseball and

  • by nhaines (622289) <nhaines@@@ubuntu...com> on Thursday December 11, 2008 @11:57PM (#26086569) Homepage

    Frankly, I've dropped my Wii remote a total of once, maybe twice. And I mean I let go of it while standing idle. None of my family was confused about whether they should throw the remote, and the only ones I've had to deal with were my godchildren who liked to swing the remotes while idle, and not let go while playing.

    I don't find the remotes particularly difficult to grasp, and while I have replacement straps, I still have the originals on the remotes. As much as I feel bad for anyone who accidentally threw a remote through a window, lamp, or TV, I just have difficulty believing that somehow Nintendo is to blame for this, or that they should be liable.

  • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Thursday December 11, 2008 @11:57PM (#26086573) Homepage Journal

    One of our friends brought her boyfriend over the other day.. he'd heard of the Wii but never played it, so we fired up WiiSports for him. While playing "Tennis" I watched in amusement as he hit his hand into the wall, then my coffee table, then he tripped over the recliner, then he nearly hit his girlfriend in the head. While playing "Bowling" he hit *himself* in the head with the remote. I *could* have told him that such large movements are unnecessary but that would have took away his fun, and I wouldn't be able to laugh at him beating himself up. Some people just have problems with the whole augmented-sense-of-self thing.

  • Okay... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Penguinisto (415985) on Friday December 12, 2008 @12:05AM (#26086615) Journal

    A lawsuit @ Nintendo because someone (or rather, plural someones) was (were) dumb enough to toss a remote hard enough to crack a television set!?...

    Seriously.

    WTF?

    Now, if'n y'all don't mind, I have to go sue the folks who make Red Bull now, since their cans weren't shaped in a way to prevent me from dropping it on the table and accidentally soaking my laptop while absorbing the sheer chutzpah of the ambulance-chaser's commentary in the referenced article.

    /P

    • Re:Okay... (Score:5, Informative)

      by deniable (76198) on Friday December 12, 2008 @12:16AM (#26086667)

      I'm in Australia and some of us refer to the new Wiimotes with the heavily padded 'jacket' and beefy strap as Americanized Wiimotes. Sorry to you Americans who have to live amongst these people.

      • by arkhan_jg (618674)

        I quite like the new padded cover. It's shaped to fit the hands better when holding it like an old NES controller, though it's too big for my fiancee to hold comfortably.

    • Now, if'n y'all don't mind, I have to go sue the folks who make Red Bull now, since their cans weren't shaped in a way to prevent me from dropping it on the table and accidentally soaking my laptop while absorbing the sheer chutzpah of the ambulance-chaser's commentary in the referenced article.

      I agree that this lawsuit is stupid.

      However, to play devil's advocate, the Red Bull folks don't encourage you to stand directly in front of your TV with a can in your hands, spinning and waving your arms in a rapid a

      • Re:Okay... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Kent Recal (714863) on Friday December 12, 2008 @04:19AM (#26087735)

        However, to play devil's advocate, the Red Bull folks don't encourage you to stand directly in front of your TV with a can in your hands, spinning and waving your arms in a rapid and excited fashion in relation to things which are happening on the screen, occasionally flicking the can towards the TV or simulating a throw with it whilst it is tethered to your wrist by a small and, it seems, breakable strap.

        Heck, but you paid money to buy the device that let's you do these things. You have probably seen friends doing it before. The wii displays a pretty clear warning screen (not skippable iirc) before each game. You have probably encountered at least once before in your life what happens when solid things are thrown into less solid things. In fact, if you seriously consider suing nintendo over this you've probably encountered at least once before what happens when a solid thing is thrown into your less solid head...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The wii allows you to play golf without being hit by other player's balls.
    The wii allows you to box with a friend without fracturing his head.
    The wii allows you to play baseball without being hit by the bat.

    Seriously, even sleeping on a mattress is dangerous. 40% of people die while sleeping. How many while playing the wii?

  • by freedom_india (780002) on Friday December 12, 2008 @12:16AM (#26086661) Homepage Journal

    Companies get sued because customers misuse and abuse the product to the point of breaking their own things carelessly.
    I wonder what would have happen if Edison were to invent the lightbulb today:
    1) The Association of Candle Manufacturers(ACM) and Gas Lamps Association(GLA) would jointly conduct a sit-in strike in front of Edison's home and plants.
    2) The ACM would sue Edison for producing a product that's capable of killing someone. The OSHA conducts a raid on Edison's plant, followed by an FCC investigation.
    3) The GLA lobbies congress for relief. Congresscritters DeLay and Pelosi go on record stating that Edison's electric light will result in the loss of jobs for 37,300 people directly while affecting the lives of 1.3 Million employers indirectly.
    4) Edison approaches SCOTUS for relief. SCOTUS grants Edison relief stating that Progress cannot be stopped.
    5) Rep Vern Buchanan and Sen. Ted Stevens together sponsor a resolution calling for a $1.3 billion bailout of the Candle Makers of USA.
    5(a) The GLA sues the US Govt for excluding them from the bailout.
    5(b) Hillary Clinton includes GLA into the bailout with a silent slip-in into a spending bill.
    6) The FCC commissioner rules that Electricity is dangerous to health and that electric lamps are prone to be broken. Forces Edison to include HUGE warnings on each packet.
    7) Edison sets up DC stations and powers Congress and Senate with electric lamps to show the congress the progress that can be made. he claims it can be always "Day" for congress.
    8) Congress critters not used to working long hours, silently include a bill that forces states to individually certify that 10,000 volts of DC will not kill a man for Edison's lamps to be sold. 43 states refuse. Alaska's Palin approves Edison's lamps and charges oil companies with paying for same. Orders are sealed.
    9) The children of GLA makers hold a massive rally in Washington demanding schooling and lunch relief.
    10) Bush calls upon Congress to pass a law that outlaws Electric lamps under intense pressure from lobbyists.
    11) Obama calls Bush a roadblock to progress and exhorts congress to reject such a law.
    12) A GLA dealer in MN holds a BIG rally announcing providing free gas lamps for all who sign Edison is a public enemy.
    13) Edison is sued in Alaska by 100 residents who claim that throwing the lamp on the floor caused them injuries. The case is taken up by FOX News and O'reilly states Edison is a pinhead.
    14) Edison beats the lawsuit at tremendous cost.
    15) AIG Refuses to extend insurance cover to Edison under pressure from congress.
    16) Edison renounces US citizenship and migrates to China.

  • by pembo13 (770295) on Friday December 12, 2008 @12:20AM (#26086687) Homepage
    No company should be held legally responsible for the commonsense of their customers. Nintendo really shouldn't have to tell their customers not to throw the _remote_ controller at the television. It's not like tennis players routinely go kill bystanders with their flying rackets.
    • by theillien2 (1426175) on Friday December 12, 2008 @12:48AM (#26086835)
      You'd think. But then, it's morons like these folks that cause there to be stickers all over everyday objects telling us how and how not to use them.

      I'm surprised we haven't seen any court cases by people who wiped their asses so hard the paper ripped and they got shit on their hands.
    • As long as we're being ridiculous, maybe they should sue the TV manufacturers for making screens so fragile. They'll be forced to make LCD panels out of the same glass used in windshields.
      • by deniable (76198)
        And then we can sue the makers of wall mounts that can't handle the weight. After that, builders.
        • by Gordonjcp (186804)

          If I can't pull myself clear of the ground on the bracket - be it for lighting, TVs or aerials (I mount up some pretty big aerials), then it's not strong enough. I haven't come across a plasma TV that weighs more than 100kg yet, although I don't doubt they exist.

          • by deniable (76198)
            I was talking in terms of the GP post that mentioned replacing the plastic in an LCD with wind-shield strength safety glass. That would have to have some weight. But yeah, the brackets are usually pretty tough.
    • I broke my TV! (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anyd (625939)
      My velcro shoes came undone and my safety helmet slid over my eyes and I had too much sugar that day and.... http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&q=mike+myers%2C+helmet%2C+SNL&btnG=Search+Images&gbv=2 [google.com]
    • I am left wondering if there would be any lawsuits if Nintendo had decided not to include the strap in the first place. Imagine a Wiimote with no strap and clear instructions that you not let go when making motions. If somebody tried to sue, Nintendo could say that the customer was duly warned and either a) let go or b) waved too forcefully.

      Instead, they included a strap just in case and see where that has got them...

      • Sure a bad strap is worse than no strap at all. It's not that the people are trying to throw it, they are using the strap to hold it in their hand, leaving their fingers free to move more quickly on the buttons. That's what the strap is for. They are using it as designed, then the strap breaks, and it has a consequence that should have been foreseen by Nintendo.

        If somebody were selling deep-fry units, and included handles on the side, but the handles occasionally broke off if the unit were lifted while f

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by LordKronos (470910)

          they are using the strap to hold it in their hand, leaving their fingers free to move more quickly on the buttons.

          Huh? I think you might be using the wiimote wrong, becuase holding onto it properly in no way slows down my playing. I can't even imagine how you would hold it in a way that would:
          1) enable you to click a button faster
          2) still allow you to utilize the motion capabilities
          3) not prevent you access to other buttons
          4) make it even remotely likely for the wiimote to go flying out of your hand at all,

    • If I were Nintendo, I would settle and offer helmets, elbow pads and bibs to anyone who was part of the suit.

  • by HockeyPuck (141947) on Friday December 12, 2008 @12:48AM (#26086831)

    I've always loved reading through http://www.wiihaveaproblem.com/ [wiihaveaproblem.com] which is a collection of articles and photos of damage (personal or to TVs/Windows/tables/lights) while playing Wii.

  • Strapless (Score:5, Insightful)

    by enoz (1181117) on Friday December 12, 2008 @12:57AM (#26086879)

    I wonder if this scenario could have existed if Nintendo had decided not to include a strap on the remote in the first place.

    • Exactly what I was about to post. This idiot lawsuit exists because Nintendo "knew about the problem, and didn't take sufficient measures".

      If they invented kitchen knives in today's legal eta, they would have a 100kg enclosure (securely bolted to the bench) that allowed only enough room for the insertion of vegetables, and had a system to detect human fingers before allowing actuation of the blade.

  • by ryanw (131814) on Friday December 12, 2008 @01:02AM (#26086913)

    Seriously. Class action suites against ANY company (even microsoft) are horrible!! The person with the "broken tv set" ends up getting $0.02 while the lawyers end up making $2 million+. Attorneys end up looking for smoking guns to make quick bucks. One could argue that the attorneys are fighting for the rights of the people and helping to protect us from further harm. But if this was the honest truth then everyone who had a broken TV or files part of the lawsuit should get a new TV out of it instead of giving all the money to the attorneys and pennies to those who were wrongfully harmed.

    • The people with the "broken tv set" shouldn't end up with $.02 they should get a helmet, elbow pads and a bib. Maybe some adult diapers too.

    • The point of class actions is to tell companies to stop doing something harmful to the public in the only language they know how: money.

      some messages brought to companies through lawsuits:

      "don't sell cars that explode at the slightest touch"
      "don't dump toxic waste on, near, or into waterways servicing residential land"
      "make your QA better on safety equipment"
      "don't put cameras in bathrooms"
      "don't help the government spy on us without a warrant" .. and many, many more.

  • Drunks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by erikharrison (633719) on Friday December 12, 2008 @01:06AM (#26086937)

    Wii games seem to be played almost exclusively by little kids, old ladies, and drunk college guys who spent too much goddamn money on a giant ass fucking TV instead of paying student loans, and feel constantly entitled.

    This is why WiiBeerPong (or whatever it's called now) was brilliant in its identification of a market niche.

    You also don't need a lot of people to agree to fault Nintendo for a class action lawsuit. A lawyer just needs a couple of guys and the reasonable belief that he'll get paid, and he can stir up a lawsuit on behalf of everyone who broke something without their consent.

  • by ffflala (793437) on Friday December 12, 2008 @01:40AM (#26087085)

    Isn't the problem that these things slipped out of peoples' hands while they were using it as they were supposed to?

    Maybe it's just because I finished up a torts class, but it's not a huge stretch of the imagination to anticipate wiimotes flying all over the place and breaking things.

    And as stupid as tort law seems when someone say, throws a wiimote into a television screen and blames Nintendo, there's an easy precaution. Nintendo could have put some clear warnings along with the wiimotes, something like "be careful not to let these fly out of your hands and break the tv, window, mirrors, or your commemorative plate collection."

    The two stupid assumptions cancel each other out in tort law. It's assumed that people pay attention to these ridiculously inclusive warnings, and it's assumed that a manufacturer is responsible when people slap themselves in the face with a product (if there weren't instructions not to.)

    THAT is why you find things like labels on cans of peanuts that read: "warning: contains peanuts."

    • by LiENUS (207736) <slashdot.vetmanage@com> on Friday December 12, 2008 @02:27AM (#26087265) Homepage

      And as stupid as tort law seems when someone say, throws a wiimote into a television screen and blames Nintendo, there's an easy precaution. Nintendo could have put some clear warnings along with the wiimotes, something like "be careful not to let these fly out of your hands and break the tv, window, mirrors, or your commemorative plate collection."

      You obviously don't own a Wii. Every game I've played has a goofy little screen that comes up when you start the game with a picture of a guy whacking his tv and the person behind him with the wiimote and a warning saying not to let the thing come out of your hand.

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      The harder you swing it, the more points you get!!

      Huge, "I'll show 'em" size swings are to be encouraged when playing, especially after a couple of beers. If you have to wreck the house while trying, no problem.

      Personal responsibility is soooo 1980s.

  • Get a grip (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 12, 2008 @01:54AM (#26087149)

    Nintendo is being sued because people are too stupid to hold on to a chunk of plastic? These people need to get a grip.

  • As a society, we should really applaud the Wii as being a device that is capable of distinguishing who the morons are and hopefully we can pass a law to outlaw the same said people to not breed ever. Seriously I dont care if you are twelve or 90, if you don't understand the fact that if you throw something it will break things, IMO you dont deserve to breed.
  • by TheP4st (1164315) on Friday December 12, 2008 @02:22AM (#26087241)
    Is Ballmer one of the plaintiffs in the class action suit?

    Hey, you all knew it was coming.
  • by sleeponthemic (1253494) on Friday December 12, 2008 @04:56AM (#26087889) Homepage
    How much these guys must suck at masturbation. Can't even hold a package.
  • I wonder if the problem would have been lessened by giving the Wiimote some texture, a properly curved gripping surface, or rubber sides. Real remote controls tend to get that kind of treatment, and we don't even whip those around in the air [often].

    Straight, flat, smooth, glossy plastic is a pretty bad way of designing something that's meant to be moved around a lot. But, hey, it looks really cool in promo shots, and looking cool is half of what sells stuff.

    • There is no problem if people hold onto the remote. The problem is when people hurl them.

    • by geekmux (1040042)

      I wonder if the problem would have been lessened by giving the Wiimote some texture, a properly curved gripping surface, or rubber sides. Real remote controls tend to get that kind of treatment, and we don't even whip those around in the air [often].

      Straight, flat, smooth, glossy plastic is a pretty bad way of designing something that's meant to be moved around a lot. But, hey, it looks really cool in promo shots, and looking cool is half of what sells stuff.

      They thought about that, but realized they would have been sued anyway for infringement of something that resembled a Kung-Fu Grip(TM).

      In related news, Mr. Joe (a.k.a. "G.I.") was not available for comment. It was rumored that the only kung-fu grip he has left is the one he's trying to keep on his bowels.

  • by ZorbaTHut (126196) on Friday December 12, 2008 @05:29AM (#26088015) Homepage

    When I got my Wii early on, I ordered the new straps. They arrived, I dutifully installed them, and in the spirit of scientific inquiry, I set about trying to break the old strap.

    You know what? Those things are tough. I tried a bunch of different ways to snap it and failed. (I did not resort to scissors.) Anyone who's breaking that accidentally is doing something very, very wrong.

    When the padded sleeves were released I got two of those as well, dutifully put them on, and after about half an hour of gaming remembered that I was allergic to silicone. Sleeve is removed now. I wonder if I could sue Nintendo for it.

  • Hurling Wiimotes (Score:3, Informative)

    by rlp (11898) on Friday December 12, 2008 @08:00AM (#26088941)

    I've had a Wii since the release date. My whole family has been playing Wii games since then and have NEVER hurled the WiiMote. I think the only way someone could accidentlly hurl the WiiMote is if substantial quantities of alcohol were involved.

  • by bi_boy (630968) on Friday December 12, 2008 @08:07AM (#26088979)

    Seems if anything at least Nintendo is going to get burned here:

    Despite actual knowledge of hundreds of incidents involving broken televisions over time and subsequent to December 27, 2006, Defendant failed to report the existence of even a single "Incident" to the CPSC in its Monthly Reports to the CPSC. Defendant systematically and intentionally was untruthful in its representations to the CPSC, see Exhibit 8 attached hereto.

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