15 judges of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals have unanimously reversed dismissal of a RICO class action suit against Microsoft and Best Buy, which claims the companies engaged in fraud in promoting Microsoft's MSN online service. (RICO is a statute originally intended to help prosecutors go after organized crime.) Quoting: "The case started after James Odom bought a PC-based laptop at a Contra Costa County Best Buy store. Data about the purchase was sent to Microsoft as part of a joint marketing agreement between the companies. Microsoft then signed Mr. Odom up for its MSN Internet service and, after a free trial period, began billing him for it." Howard Bashman's How Appealing blog has more details on the reversal, including a paraphrase from one of the appellate judges that "all blame rests with the U.S. Supreme Court for allowing the 'outlandish' result that a claim such as this can be pursued under RICO."
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