Print 37 comment(s) - last by ElFenix.. on Jun 3 at 3:20 PM

The Xbox replacement cords issued in early 2005 were considerably beefier than the original cords, and emblazoned with multiple warning labels (Source:
Bereaved parents blame Microsoft, Wal-Mart for a deadly house fire that claimed an infant's life

An Illinois lawsuit alleges that Microsoft and mega-retailer Wal-Mart are at fault for a fire sparked by a faulty Xbox 360 power cord. The suit was filed in December 2006 by the family of Wade Kline, a baby who perished in the accident.

The case came to light this week when Wal-Mart filed a motion to move the proceedings from a state court to a federal jurisdiction. Along with Microsoft and Wal-Mart, an unnamed power-supply maker is also named as a codefendant. The Kline family is seeking in excess of $50,000 in damages for the fire that destroyed their Warsaw, Ill., home.

The lawsuit alleges an overheated electrical supply line for an Xbox 360 sparked the blaze, according to an article in InformationWeek, however the suit claims the fire occurred in late 2004. The magazine concludes that the product involved must have been a first-generation Xbox (not Xbox 360) unit.

Microsoft recalled 14 million Xbox power cords because of potential fire hazards in February 2005, about two months after the Warsaw fire occurred.

In a statement released by Microsoft, the company expressed sympathy for the family, "However, we are not aware of any evidence that an Xbox caused the fire."

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I doubt it was MS's fault
By someguy123 on 5/25/2007 4:43:35 AM , Rating: 3
and at the same time, how can you only ask for 50grand when you believe it killed your infant? I'm not trying to be greedy, but honestly $50,000 is absolutely nothing when it comes to lawsuits against large corporations, ESPECIALLY in this situation.

RE: I doubt it was MS's fault
By Griswold on 5/25/2007 5:05:52 AM , Rating: 5
Perhaps they dont believe in measuring life in dollars and just want compensation for their material loss.

RE: I doubt it was MS's fault
By MDE on 5/25/2007 5:58:12 AM , Rating: 1
I'd imagine most people have more than $50,000 in losses after a home fire, especially if it's a house. If they had insurance then most everything should be covered by that though, so they'd be suing for loss of life, pain and suffering, etc. I feel sorry for them but people are just too sue-happy today.

RE: I doubt it was MS's fault
By BMFPitt on 5/25/2007 8:59:20 AM , Rating: 4
There are millions of examples of sue happy people with frivolous claims, but this isn't one. At face value, this sounds like a valid case. Considering they are asking for next to nothing compared to what they could likely get (Or what Microsoft has paid for 72 minutes worth of daily government fines.) Microsoft, et al should be very thankful.

RE: I doubt it was MS's fault
By frobizzle on 5/31/2007 5:01:46 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed that this is one instance that is (probably) not a frivolous law suit. What I don't understand is that while Microsoft and the unnamed manufacturer of the power supply may be liable, where does Walmart's alleged liability come in here? Unless Walmart was fully aware of the potential danger and disregarded it, I do not see their culpability in this matter. Please do not construe this as liking or hating Walmart as I am ambivelent about them. However, if Walmart is found to be culpable in this suit, it raises a serious precedent; that being that any retailer can be sued for problems with any merchandise that all they do is sell. If that were the case, for example, virtually every grocery store and pet food store would facing countless law suits for the recent incidents of selling bad pet food.

RE: I doubt it was MS's fault
By Munkles on 5/25/2007 9:11:17 AM , Rating: 3

Unfortunatley insurance doesnt really cover NEARLY the cost of rebuilding let alone replacing the contents of your house. Back in 98 our house burned down so unfortunatley I intimately know the frustrations with this process. Basically as im sure you understand every single item has to be cataloged and then you get the depreciated value of the item from when you purchased it NOT the current market price so no adjustment for inflation. You also get something roughly the cost of the last appraisal of your home so if thats not up-to-date you could be out tens of thousands of dollars. They do NOT reimburse you for the new construction cost of your home.

So while its REALLy helpful... you insurance is a help, but you still end up many thousands of dollars further in debt to get everything rebuilt, and replaced.

RE: I doubt it was MS's fault
By PsYStuMmY on 5/25/07, Rating: -1
RE: I doubt it was MS's fault
By Sebec on 5/25/2007 2:22:48 PM , Rating: 4
The number one cause of death related to fires is smoke inhalation. Smoke inhalation injuries more likely killed the baby rather than burns, so the parents may have very been close by during the time of the fire, but weren't able to save their child in time from inhalation injury.

RE: I doubt it was MS's fault
By jcyeadon on 5/28/2007 3:20:10 PM , Rating: 3
still proof would be needed. Also the only blazes I recall hearing about that were linked to the xbox were in the UK I thought. I could be wrong there but still there are many potential causes for a fire and the cause of a fire can usually be determined by experts afterwards.

I hope that they do have evidence if it was a faulty power supply that caused the blaze. The amount requested shouldn't be judged because YES there are families that don't take every tragic event as a way to get rich. My family has passed on opportunities where we would have likely had easy wins in court because that just isn't how we roll.. wrong us and we become stronger money is just what you work for to pay bills. More money just means larger bills.

RE: I doubt it was MS's fault
By floofer on 5/25/2007 11:41:56 AM , Rating: 5
If you read the source article at, they are suing for unspecified damages in excess of $50,000.

There are a lot of numbers much bigger than 50,000.

RE: I doubt it was MS's fault
By monitorjbl on 5/25/07, Rating: -1
RE: I doubt it was MS's fault
By goku on 5/26/07, Rating: -1
RE: I doubt it was MS's fault
By ElFenix on 6/2/2007 10:34:11 PM , Rating: 2
$50,000 may be the minimum jurisdictional amount for the court they sued in. in order to get into court, then, they need to insert into their pleading that damages are in excess of $50,000.

RE: I doubt it was MS's fault
By ElFenix on 6/2/2007 10:36:30 PM , Rating: 2
and if you do it too high you would make it easy for MS to get into federal court (which MS and wally world are trying to do anyway). minimum jurisdictional amount for a federal diversity action is $85,000, iirc.

I'd pay if I were Microsoft
By Sylar on 5/25/2007 8:26:55 AM , Rating: 1
Wow, this is like the first time I've seen a lawsuit of this magnitude claiming such a small amount in damages. If I were Microsoft, I'd just pay it. Just split it 3 ways between MS, Walmart, & the third co-defendant and it'd be about 17k each.

RE: I'd pay if I were Microsoft
By psypher on 5/25/2007 10:41:34 AM , Rating: 2
they can't just pay it without going through the motions of responding to the lawsuit. If they concede that they actually did anything wrong, or the cost of trying the case is more than $50,000, they will settle. Otherwise, just handing over the money would be microsoft and walmart telling the thousands of people that file frivolous lawsuits to line up and collect. Basically, they have to throw their legal team's weight against this to keep the number of nuisance suits down.

RE: I'd pay if I were Microsoft
By tacorly on 5/25/2007 9:19:12 PM , Rating: 2
Man, everytime i read a good point I read a good counterpoint.

You guys am smart.

RE: I'd pay if I were Microsoft
By Kenenniah on 5/30/2007 6:11:30 PM , Rating: 2
Except that you could structure such a settlement without admission of guilt and with a NDA (non-disclosure agreement), which would create no legal precedent for further suits.

RE: I'd pay if I were Microsoft
By ElFenix on 6/3/2007 3:20:55 PM , Rating: 2
plaintiffs aren't bound by the damages claimed in their pleadings. plaintiff would want far more than $50,000 to settle, i guarantee you. if MS and the other defendants didn't bother fighting it because the fees are so high, plaintiff could then put on evidence of its damages unchallenged, resulting in a big judgment against MS and friends.

One correction
By samuraiBX on 5/25/2007 1:01:02 PM , Rating: 5
Hi guys, there's one correction that you need to make to the article.

"The suit was filed by Wade Kline's estate and seeks unspecified damages in excess of $50,000."

I'm not making judgements of how litigious people are, but a child really is priceless. Depending on how it hits you, I couldn't blame a parent for wanting only enough to cover their house or if they want to bankrupt the company responsible for the death of their child. Also, yes it's possible that the parents could have had some culpability, but that's assuming the child was left unsupervised. For all we know, the baby could have passed away from smoke inhalation from the fire. Let's not make any assumptions and just sympathize with the loss of a child.

Going to Court over 50,000
By rowenmeister on 5/25/2007 9:59:20 AM , Rating: 2
There has to be more to this story or at least the parents might be expecting more in compensatory damages. Why would these companies spend all this money in legal fees and keep the story fresh in the press. $50k is pocket change to them, but then again look at Martha Stewart and ImClone.

By xxsk8er101xx on 5/26/2007 11:17:27 AM , Rating: 2
If they had any evidence whatsoever they would demand a whole lot more.

You can sue anyone for anything. This is another example of the abuse that goes on with the justice system to scam money.

I'd be interested in knowing how they are going to prove it was the xbox and not the outlet itself?

By TimberJon on 5/29/2007 11:06:40 AM , Rating: 2
I dont mean to make fun of Hicks, and Illinois isnt exactly full of them, but If I was helping file the suit, Unless the lawyer or attorney is billy bob jenkins from down the street that lives in the house held up by bricks with the 5 acre back yard thats overgrown, I would suggest to the couple what is a more realistic request for compensation both physically and for emotional pain. Hell I remember some article that said an old woman got $30 grand from a guy in NY because some dog mauled her cat in a park. And she was walking her cat in the DOG PARK. Granted living might be less and housing might cost less, I say they should go for $400,000 worth of damages. no more no less.

It snuffed a life man...

By littleprince on 5/29/2007 4:16:18 PM , Rating: 2
If they ask for 10 billion dollars they are money seeking grabbers...

If you ask me, the 50k sounds very logical. If they don't need the money the 50k means they filed the suit based on principal. They just want the companies involved to admit there was wrong doing.

Same as if I see some loser litter. Sure its easier to just pick up his fast food garbage and throw it away. but shove it down his throat and at least something good comes of it. No need to sue him and the city for not placing a garbage can close enough to his fat azz.

By dflynchimp on 5/26/2007 4:23:33 PM , Rating: 1
You have to wonder where these parents were when the incident happened. For one, I highly doubt the xbox was bought for the baby. Under normal circumstances a powerbrick/cable doesn't undergo a lot of heating when not in use, so they must've left the xbox running. I'm not saying they should've turned it off since one would think leaving the xbox on indefinitely shouldn't be a problem, but I'm sure we've all noticed that every power brick, whether for laptops or game consoles or other appliances, get pretty hot after use. In fact some of those power cords often are designed to run just under the threshold of overheating.

Chances are this couple either had a really hot house or had the power cord in a place where its heat got all bottled up. Or alternatively the rubber layer surrounding the powercord could have been ruptured by rough handling or just everyday wear and tear. I would know because I've had a laptop powerbrick/cord burn (literally) out on me because the copper wiring became exposed to the air after the rubber insulation was torn (it was a really old cable). Once the wiring becomes exposed to air it's inevitably going to spark/blow/ignite. Everyday wear and tear is not something that a company can account for because a large part of the W&T is based on the consumer's use.

Of course, I'm not advocating that Microsoft is not to be blamed for the situation. The very fact that these large corporations would rather cut costs by forcing (or having) their hardware run at the very limits of their thermal/physical capacity is disheartening. They should've thought to design the cable with a higher thermal envelope yet have it run at nominal voltage/currents much lower than the limit. I should think that spending the extra cost of producing a higher quality product would beat having the product potentially prove inadequate and having to recall a shitload of the shipments and having a law suit brought against you.

Generally speaking I'm a anti-suit person, because I think some of us as Americans abuse the legal systems, trying to overextend the protection it offers to the point of trying to get pampered. And while I think the parents have every right to demand compensation from Microsoft, they really should have taken a little more responsibility by not leaving their child unattended, which more likely than not was what they did.

Another Death caused by the Xbox 360
By xuimod on 5/25/07, Rating: -1
RE: Another Death caused by the Xbox 360
By novacthall on 5/25/2007 8:43:08 AM , Rating: 2
It wasn't a 360, xuimod. The fire occurred in 2004 and the Xbox 360 wasn't released until November of 2005.

RE: Another Death caused by the Xbox 360
By therealnickdanger on 5/25/07, Rating: 0
RE: Another Death caused by the Xbox 360
By KaiserCSS on 5/25/2007 10:56:53 AM , Rating: 6
Oh, for the love of... is there anyone left who can read an article and actually comprehend it?

The lawsuit alleges an overheated electrical supply line for an Xbox 360 sparked the blaze, according to an article in InformationWeek , however the suit claims the fire occurred in late 2004. The magazine concludes that the product involved must have been a first-generation Xbox (not Xbox 360) unit.

Understand now? The error is not with the editor.

By therealnickdanger on 5/25/2007 1:49:56 PM , Rating: 2
Ow... my pride.

By PlasmaBomb on 5/28/2007 11:43:20 AM , Rating: 2
A legal question that someone may know the answer to-

If the legal papers served on MS say that it was an xbox 360 power cable that caused the fire in 2004, is that not grounds for dismissal?

RE: Another Death caused by the Xbox 360
By Topweasel on 5/25/2007 12:32:47 PM , Rating: 2
Read more carefully.

The Claim states the Xbox360 Power Adapter, but the magazine that DT is quoting found that the incident occurred prior to the Xbox360 coming out and that it would have been the original Xbox.

Read more carefully next time please.

RE: Another Death caused by the Xbox 360
By Fusible on 5/25/07, Rating: 0
RE: Another Death caused by the Xbox 360
By vitul on 5/25/2007 3:04:39 PM , Rating: 3
uhm not it doesnt. u can feel the ps3 console and its not hot. u do the same on the 360 and its hot. goto the forums read about all the broken consoles the RROD and freezing consoles are due to the thing running to damn hot. I currenty have mine out for repairs.

By Haltech on 5/25/2007 9:20:53 PM , Rating: 2
Get the spring updated version, they fixed it, much cooler

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

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