Microsoft Sued for Tragic Xbox Fire

Dennis Faas's picture

If you're one of the many people who still own and play the original Xbox video game console, keep a close eye on the system's power supply cord. Recalled a few years ago, it has cost one infant his life.

In February of 2005, Microsoft recalled the power cord for its Xbox, amidst fears that it could overheat and engulf a home in flames. Although the problem sounds similar to overheating issues with the newer Xbox 360, the latter's issues simply affect the console's ability to function, and pose no threat of combustion.

Unfortunately for a Warsaw, Illinois couple, the original Xbox power cord problem cost them their newborn son, Wade Kline. The surviving pair are suing Microsoft, the independent power supply manufacturer, and retailer Wal-Mart, claiming "The fire was a direct and proximate result of the overheating of the game's power supply and wiring". The amount of compensation being sought is not known at this time. (Source:

Microsoft has responded to the lawsuit by asking for its dismissal. The company alleges that "misuses or abuse" of the Xbox led to the fire, absolving Microsoft or Wal-Mart of any fault for the tragic mishap. In a statement recorded by InformationWeek, Microsoft argued that the fire took place as a result of "an open, obvious, and apparent condition which was known to and recognized by the plaintiff and/or others who, nevertheless, knowingly, willingly, intentionally, and voluntarily exposed themselves to said danger and assumed the risk of incident, injuries, losses, and damages".

Clearly, Microsoft believed that everyone had heard of and had time to respond to the two and a half year old recall. Nothing is currently being reported further detailing what "misuse or abuse" the Kline's Xbox may have suffered, or if their denial simply relates to their refusal to replace the power supply.

Microsoft, which recalled some 14 million of its Xbox cords for no charge in 2005, believes it shares no part in the guilt and is demanding the Kline family pay for company legal fees. (Source:

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