The 2019 class action lawsuit accusing Nintendo of knowingly selling defective Nintendo Switch controllers has been moved into arbitration, pushing the dispute between Nintendo and disgruntled customers out of the courtroom for the time being.
According to a Top Class Actions story spotted by the folks at ResetEra, the district judge presiding over the case agrees with Nintendo’s suggestion that purchasing a Nintendo Switch locks customers into a valid arbitration agreement with Nintendo.
Those behind the Joy-Con drift class action argued initially that California law invalidated any arbitration agreement, but the judge ultimately decided that the agreement is valid even under that law as it doesn’t prevent customers from seeking injunctive relief.
Despite siding with Nintendo on the arbitration request, the judge declined Nintendo’s request to have the entire case dismissed. Instead, the class-action is essentially on hold as both parties meet to settle the dispute outside of the courtroom. The result of those arbitration talks is to be returned to the court by December 31, 2020 or within 14 days of the conclusion of the whole process.
The entire dispute kicked off last summer when word of a seemingly widespread issue with the Nintendo Switch’s Joy-Con controllers came to light. The alleged defect causes joysticks on the Switch’s detatchable controllers to detect input when left untouched, an issue Switch owners say is encountered across both new, used, and even Nintendo-repaired Joy-Cons. The class action accused Nintendo of continuing to knowingly distributing defective controllers even after the defect had been brought to the company’s attention.
After the issue picked up steam that July, Nintendo reportedly moved to offer free Joy-Con repairs to those experiencing drift issues, though the gesture didn’t slow the class action suit, which itself was later expanded to cover the joysticks on the all-in-one Switch Lite handheld months later.