Nintendo just got sued for $5 million over Joy-Con drift — by a child

Nintendo Switch
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Joy-Con Drift has been a problem for the Nintendo Switch pretty much since day one. There have been complaints, lawsuits, homemade fixes, and accusations that Nintendo doesn’t want to fix the problem.

Now the company has been hit with another class action lawsuit, but this one is noteworthy because one of the plaintiffs is a literal child. And his mother, because minors generally aren’t allowed to have lawyers.

The complaint has been filed in Northern California by Luz Sanchez and her unnamed son. According to court documents Sanchez bought a Switch in December 2018 for her then ten-year old son. The complaint alleges that the controllers started registering false movement within a month, even when they weren’t being handled.

Within a year the controllers became completely unusable, forcing Sanchez to reluctantly buy another set of Joy-Cons. But the complaint alleges that they started drifting seven months later.

It’s a story all too familiar to Switch owners, to the point where Nintendo has apologised for issues and offered free post-warranty fixes for defective controllers. Though that wasn’t until after a similar class action lawsuit was filed against the company, which is currently in arbitration.

Sanchez’s lawyers argue that Nintendo hasn’t enough enough, both to fix the issue and to warn customers that drift is a potential problem:

“Defendant continues to market and sell the Products with full knowledge of the defect and without disclosing the Joy-Con Drift defect to consumers in its marketing, promotion, or packaging. Defendant has had a financial motive to conceal the defect, as it did not want to stop selling the Products, and/or would need to expend a significant amount of money to cure the defect.”

While it seems really strange to have a nine-year old as a plaintiff in a lawsuit, it makes a little bit of sense. The Switch was for him, after all, and he would have had to deal headache of having to game while Joy-Con drift is screwing around. 

Weirdly there’s a precedent for it as well, because a nine-year old sued Nintendo, along with Major League Baseball and LJN games, back in 1989 after being disappointed by a baseball video game. He wanted the game to be discontinued for failing to “live up to its promises” as well as having the $40 he spent returned.

Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.