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Suing for becoming a video game junkie

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From The Wall Street Journal:

Quote:
A federal judge in Hawaii ruled last month that a man claiming to be addicted to a videogame can sue the game's maker for gross negligence in not warning him he could become a joystick junkie. Craig Smallwood alleges in his lawsuit that, as a result of playing the online game "Lineage II," he has "suffered extreme and serious emotional distress and depression, and has been unable to function independently in usual daily activities such as getting up, getting dressed, bathing, or communicating with family and friends."

 

While the case may get thrown out before trial, the EULA may no longer protect video game companies for turning us into addicts that crave their products.

 

The article also mentions the need to carefully read your EULA before accepting. As they say the devil is in the details:

 

Quote:
Last April, the British retailer Gamestation set out to prove the point by including in its boilerplate some Mephistophelean contractual language: "By placing an order via this Web site," read the clause, "you agree to grant us a non-transferable option to claim, for now and for ever more, your immortal soul." In just one day, some 7,500 customers "agreed" to hand over their souls for a mess of virtual pottage.

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this is kind of a dumb case but the majority of eulas really shouldn't be enforceable

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Originally Posted By: Randomizer
Quote:
A federal judge in Hawaii ruled last month that a man claiming to be addicted to a videogame can sue the game's maker for gross negligence in not warning him he could become a joystick junkie. Craig Smallwood alleges in his lawsuit that, as a result of playing the online game "Lineage II," he has "suffered extreme and serious emotional distress and depression, and has been unable to function independently in usual daily activities such as getting up, getting dressed, bathing, or communicating with family and friends."


Correct me if I'm wrong, but if he's suing for emotional distress as opposed to damages, he couldn't do so in a small claims court, so doesn't that me his claim has to be in excess of $10,000? I kind of fail to see how he could manage to get that much money out of a judge for damage due to playing video games.

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Originally Posted By: Dantius

Correct me if I'm wrong, but if he's suing for emotional distress as opposed to damages, he couldn't do so in a small claims court, so doesn't that me his claim has to be in excess of $10,000?


no? small claims courts have a maximum amount they can give you, but regular courts don't have a minimum

also, therapy is expensive, and if he lost his job over it a few months' lost income can easily go over ten grand

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also the wsj is terrible and i don't trust it to accurately report what he's suing for

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The WSJ is decent about legal cases, but politics is suspect even before it became part of Rupert Murdock's empire. This was an opinion piece and not a straight article.

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Originally Posted By: Randomizer
Quote:
Last April, the British retailer Gamestation set out to prove the point by including in its boilerplate some Mephistophelean contractual language: "By placing an order via this Web site," read the clause, "you agree to grant us a non-transferable option to claim, for now and for ever more, your immortal soul." In just one day, some 7,500 customers "agreed" to hand over their souls for a mess of virtual pottage.

This would piss me off so much. What did they gain out of duping their customers like this? Some people take these kinds of things very seriously.

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Originally Posted By: Lilith
also the wsj is terrible and i don't trust it to accurately report what he's suing for


The WSJ is fine at actually reporting news, and at reporting important news well. Now, editorials is another story, but I digress. Seeing as the WSJ isn't blatantly partisan enough to blame "ZOMG LIBERALS" for something like this ala Fox or some other corners of News Corp. would, I'd say trusting accurate reporting would be fine for this specific instance.

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Originally Posted By: Enraged Slith

This would piss me off so much. What did they gain out of duping their customers like this? Some people take these kinds of things very seriously.


they were doing it to make a point about the fact that people don't read eulas

i imagine it was a decent publicity stunt for them too

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...Why would anyone sue for being a video game junkie!?

...Oh yeah, for money to buy more video games.

I love being a video game junkie. Now get off my lawn!

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Originally Posted By: Enraged Slith
This would piss me off so much. What did they gain out of duping their customers like this? Some people take these kinds of things very seriously.

Pardon me, but if you can't suspend your disbelief in this most basic of ways, then why are you playing video games?

Also, I suspect the only reason we might consider this case absurd is because we never expect companies to address their externalities.

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Originally Posted By: Handyman
Originally Posted By: Enraged Slith
This would piss me off so much. What did they gain out of duping their customers like this? Some people take these kinds of things very seriously.

Pardon me, but if you can't suspend your disbelief in this most basic of ways, then why are you playing video games?

Also, I suspect the only reason we might consider this case absurd is because we never expect companies to address their externalities.


wat

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The lawsuit should be on very iffy grounds. There's no consensus that there is such a thing as video game addiction, or what it's like, or what to do about it, or who's responsible. Now, legal precedent could help with that, but I'd rather get the psychologists on board first.

 

—Alorael, who doesn't imagine that the DSM has much to do with it anyway. All it takes is sufficient expert witnesses, and given the history of minor physical trauma as a cause of oncogenesis, that shouldn't be hard.

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I still remember when some women got coffee from McDonalds, and after putting it in her lap (and then spilling it) she sued McDonalds. I dont remember how much money she got from it.

 

P.S. When do I get a new title anyways?

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Well, consider gambling. Behavioral addictions have been subject to special legal considerations before. Also, the Japanese government has already declared social isolation to be a national problem. While social isolation isn't the necessary outcome of game playing or even game addiction, it is a systematically likelier one, like use of drugs in the real world.

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Quote:
P.S. When do I get a new title anyways?

Check out the FAQ in the upper right corner of the forum header. It lists all the titles.

Dikiyoba.

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Originally Posted By: Insanity on a Stick
I still remember when some women got coffee from McDonalds, and after putting it in her lap (and then spilling it) she sued McDonalds. I dont remember how much money she got from it.


oh yes how unreasonable to sue when a company serves coffee so hot as to cause third-degree burns and permanent scarring within seconds if you so much as splash it on yourself! surely this is her fault for spilling it

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Originally Posted By: Lilith
Originally Posted By: Insanity on a Stick
I still remember when some women got coffee from McDonalds, and after putting it in her lap (and then spilling it) she sued McDonalds. I dont remember how much money she got from it.


oh yes how unreasonable to sue when a company serves coffee so hot as to cause third-degree burns and permanent scarring within seconds if you so much as splash it on yourself! surely this is her fault for spilling it


It's a very famous case because Stella Liebeck (the spiller in question) got $2,900,000 in damages. That is more money than most people will ever make in their lives. Now, I would have no problem with a 10,000 dollar settlement. But 2.9 million?

There's even the Stella Awards, which is an award given to ridiculous lawsuits that abuse tort law. Some of them would be humorous, if they weren't so utterly, utterly stupid.

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i believe the jury, as requested by the plaintiff, set punitive damages at the amount of money McDonalds makes from coffee sales in two days. you can argue about whether stella herself deserves that money or if it should be paid into a court fund, but with such a big corporation you need a big judgement to make them take notice. that's what punitive damages are for

 

p.s. just because i set up a series of annual awards for bad decisions by presidents and named them the FDR Awards, wouldn't make FDR a bad president

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Originally Posted By: Lilith
but with such a big corporation you need a big judgement to make them take notice. that's what punitive damages are for


2.9 million is not a lot of money to McDonalds. Cursory Googling reveals that 72 billion dollars of sales were made in 2009. The term "mote in the eye" comes to mind.

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She also didn't get the money. The judge reduded the total money to $640,000, and in the end McDonald's settled for less than that before the appeal reached trial.

 

—Alorael, who can't decide whether unnecessarily hot coffee justified a lawsuit over harm that should be expected. Maybe the coffee shouldn't have burned that much, but if it's hot, it'll burn. If it's not hot, nobody wants it.

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The only time fresh coffee isnt going to burn you, is if its ICED COFFEE. The fact that she didnt seem to realize that is really sad. Also, never put a cup of coffee in your lap, whatever happens is YOUR fault.

Originally Posted By: Dantius
The term "mote in the eye" comes to mind.
At least it wasnt coffee in the eye...

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Originally Posted By: Internet Forum Zombie
The only time fresh coffee isnt going to burn you, is if its ICED COFFEE. The fact that she didnt seem to realize that is really sad. Also, never put a cup of coffee in your lap, whatever happens is YOUR fault.


if you don't want your customers to rest coffee in their laps you probably shouldn't sell it at drive-through counters in the first place! pretty sure this was in the days before most cars had drink holders, too

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No, some cars had drink holders, but a company that emphasized drive through service should have anticipated some people would have placed their coffee in stupid places like on the dashboard where a sudden stop would send it flying into the driver or passenger.

 

The penalty was to encourage some thought about how a product is delivered.

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Originally Posted By: Tirien
The only time fresh coffee isnt going to burn you, is if its ICED COFFEE. The fact that she didnt seem to realize that is really sad. Also, never put a cup of coffee in your lap, whatever happens is YOUR fault.

But Dikiyoba has spilled hot beverages on Dikiyoba's self numerous times and never gotten third-degree burns from any of them.

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Someone (not me, im lazy) needs to check what the temperature of a liquid would need to be at to get third-degree burns, becuase now that diki mentions it, I really doubt you could get third-degree burns from coffee that easily. You could get third-degree burns from listening/reading Diki talk/type in third person.

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Originally Posted By: Internet Forum Zombie
I really doubt you could get third-degree burns from coffee that easily.

I received second-degree burns from coffee as an infant, simply by spilling it on my leg. I think the coffee was somewhere around 170 degrees fahrenheit, but that was merely an estimate my parents made.

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Originally Posted By: Internet Forum Zombie
Someone (not me, im lazy) needs to check what the temperature of a liquid would need to be at to get third-degree burns, becuase now that diki mentions it, I really doubt you could get third-degree burns from coffee that easily.


normally you cannot! a reasonable drinking temperature for coffee is about 70 degrees Celsius, which is roughly the temperature of the hot water supply in a typical residental home. it can scald you with prolonged contact but generally you'll be able to get away from it before that happens

however, in order to get coffee to the customer more quickly, McDonalds serves its coffee at 90 degrees Celsius, close to the boiling point of water. at this temperature it will cause severe burns within one or two seconds. this is why they were successfully sued!

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Also, the idea that "spilling something" is somehow a sign of stupidity is ridiculous and takes no consideration of how people actually live.

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I spilled boiling hot soup into my lap as a kid and only got second degree burns, I too question the third degree burn issue.

 

I also question humanity's intelligence as a whole.

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If I remember correctly, third-degree burns are severe damage to flesh, muscle, ect. The worst coffee or soup is going to do is second-degree.

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Originally Posted By: Internet Forum Zombie
If I remember correctly, third-degree burns are severe damage to flesh, muscle, ect. The worst coffee or soup is going to do is second-degree.


It all depends on how hot it is.

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Originally Posted By: Lilith
in order to get coffee to the customer more quickly, McDonalds serves its coffee at 90 degrees Celsius, close to the boiling point of water. at this temperature it will cause severe burns within one or two seconds. this is why they were successfully sued!


This is why. This has already been said. You should pay attention to things people have said before concluding that all people are stupid; maybe they are reasonably intelligent and you are not paying attention.

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being a frail 78-year-old instead of a healthy young twentysomething doesn't help either

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Originally Posted By: Handyman
...concluding that all people are stupid...
So true. Except for the smart people. And now that I dont have anything to really add to this topic anymore, I will have a hard time saying anything without spamming.

Great...now im craving spam...

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Originally Posted By: Tirien
And now that I dont have anything to really add to this topic anymore, I will have a hard time saying anything without spamming.

Then it would be wise not to say anything at all.

Dikiyoba.

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Originally Posted By: Internet Forum Zombie
Originally Posted By: Handyman
...concluding that all people are stupid...
So true. Except for the smart people. And now that I dont have anything to really add to this topic anymore, I will have a hard time saying anything without spamming.

Great...now im craving spam...


you must be a hit at parties

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Originally Posted By: Internet Forum Zombie
Originally Posted By: Handyman
...concluding that all people are stupid...
So true. Except for the smart people. And now that I dont have anything to really add to this topic anymore, I will have a hard time saying anything without spamming.

Great...now im craving spam...


I had this problem once. Then, I traveled to the seven sacred sages of spam on a high mountain in a remote province of China. They taught me the secret, old ways of spamming, and now I am a master spammer, unrivaled by all my contemporaries, with the possible exception of Nikki, who can't even be bothered to write his own message he is so optimal.

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Originally Posted By: Dantius
why do I get genders confused so often?

It's Nikki. He tries.

Dikiyoba approves, because it gives him less time for spamming and grumping at the newbs. tongue

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Video game "addiction" is similar to most other addictions in that the junkie doesn't have the self control to stop without intervention. While it may seem better than gambling or shopping where you can go into debt, over eating or drinking, in this case the person had self destructed into isolation.

 

South Korea has some people that have similar problems where they play for days without doing anything else.

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Hard to cop being sued for creating a great product - what a great incentive to excel!

 

Perhaps he should also sue his parents for not preparing him better for his tough life ahead. Or try suing Edward Bernays for creating this consumerism whirlpool in the first place.

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Originally Posted By: waterplant
Hard to cop being sued for creating a great product - what a great incentive to excel!

Being addictive and being great are not the same thing.

Dikiyoba.

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Great products are often addictive, don't you think? A book that you 'can't put down' suggests a really good book.

 

If that guy had sued for the costs of his rehab to treat his addiction then that's something else entirely.

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