The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way Monday for Microsoft and Best Buy Co.
to be sued under a law originally created to help federal prosecutors bring
down the mafia. The ruling stems from a class-action civil lawsuit by a northern
California man, James Odom. He bought a laptop at Best Buy in 2003 that included
a six-month MSN trial CD. Odom's attorneys allege that Best Buy signed Odom
up for an MSN account with the credit card Odom used to pay for the computer,
and Microsoft began charging him for the MSN service six months later. The lawsuit
is filed under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.
Perhaps the most eye-popping element comes from a friend-of-the court filing
by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. According to the Chamber, RICO is getting out
of control as a device against business. It has been used in more than 4,500
cases since 2001, with only 35 of those cases filed by the government, by the
Meanwhile, arguments by Microsoft and Best Buy attorneys indicated that the
companies weren't thrilled about "the reputational injury" of being
sued under a law "associated with racketeers and mobsters," according
to the news article about the case. You can find out more here.
Posted by Scott Bekker on October 16, 2007 at 11:57 AM