Feeds

Dell ordered back to court in laptop dustup

'Unconscionable' arbitration overruled

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Dell has been ordered back into court to face claims it knowingly sold defective Inspiron 5160 and 1150 laptops.

In October 2006, three Inspiron owners - Michael Omstead, Melissa Malloy, and Lisa Smith - filed suit against the PC maker, charging the company with "misconduct in connection with the design, manufacture, warranting, advertising and selling of the affected computers."

The trio complained that their laptops' cooling systems were inadequate, that their power supplies and cooling systems failed prematurely under normal use, and that their batteries either failed to charge or would only hold a charge for a short time.

Omstead et al. were also steamed that the software patch Dell issued to fix the overheating Inspiron did so in part by slowing the clock speed of the allegedly defective Inspirons, and that "for some period of time presently unknown," Dell not only replaced defective parts with parts of the same design, but also charged customers for the parts and labor involved in those swap-outs.

United States District Judge Phyllis Hamilton, however, dismissed the suit in May 2008 because the plaintiffs refused to follow a court order sending them into arbitration.

Omstead, Malloy, and Smith filed an appeal a month later, and this Friday, Reuters reports, the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco agreed with them. Judge Lyle Strom said that the District Court should not have dismissed the case, and that it was in the public's interest to let it comtinue. Strom also said it was "unconscionable" to enforce a provision in customers' sales contracts requiring arbitration, according to Reuters.

And so it's back to square one for Michael Dell, Michael Omstead, Melissa Malloy, and Lisa Smith - although the plaintiffs now have a victory under their belts, and a judge's opinion that requiring the arbitration of individual cases of $1,200 to $1,500 laptops is "unconscionable." ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Xperia Z3: Crikey, Sony – ANOTHER flagship phondleslab?
The Fourth Amendment... and it IS better
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
Here's your chance to buy an ancient, working APPLE ONE
Warning: Likely to cost a lot even for a Mac
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.