Mar 30, 2022 - Technology

Class-action suit hinges on whether kids can sue Nintendo

Photo: Nintendo

A proposed class-action lawsuit against Nintendo over malfunctioning controllers now hinges on whether two children can sue the house of Mario and Zelda.

Driving the news: Lawyers for families suing Nintendo in the case Sanchez et. al. v. Nintendo of America say in a new court filing that an arbitrator has ruled that two mothers in the case can’t proceed with a class action. But they intend for the children to press on.

  • Nintendo lawyers have countered, saying the children don’t have standing to sue since they didn’t buy the Nintendo Switch in question “and allege no cognizable harm to themselves.”

Between the lines: For years, numerous Switch users have complained about faulty thumbsticks causing so-called “Joy-Con drift.” This triggered a wave of class-action lawsuits, a free repair program from Nintendo and a 2020 apology by the company’s CEO.

  • The class-action suits have largely stalled out. Cases brought in 2019 and 2020 have been sent to arbitration, where they await a resolution.
  • The arbitration has been triggered at the behest of Nintendo, which says that Switch owners are prompted to digitally agree to the console’s End User License Agreement.
  • That EULA includes the arbitration clause and a waiver on pursuing any class-action suits, narrowing any possible relief. It also says it must be accepted by someone over the age of 18.

State of play: In the Sanchez case, plaintiff lawyers say the children involved can’t be bound by the EULA because they are minors.

  • They’re asking the court, which put the case on hold in 2021 pending the arbitration, to now let the suit proceed on behalf of the children.
  • The matter goes back before a federal judge in California on Thursday.

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