The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled yesterday that a Connecticut man didn't have the right to sue Microsoft for anticompetitive conduct because the company didn't directly harm the man. Andrew Vacco sued Microsoft for forcing him to pay too much for its Windows product when he bought a new PC. The man chose to pursue his case individually, rather than join the larger class-action suit against Microsoft, because he thought that Connecticut state law let him do so.
Vacco bought a new PC in September 1999 from a Staples retail location in Wallingford, Connecticut. His lawsuit alleged that Microsoft overcharged him for the license to Windows 98, which came with the computer. Vacco's attorney said that his client's legal loss proves that consumers need stronger laws to protect them from companies that overcharge for a product, regardless of whether that product is sold to them directly.
The Connecticut Supreme Court, however, ruled that because Vacco didn't buy Windows directly from Microsoft, he was barred from suing under Connecticut's Unfair Trade and Practices Act or Antitrust Act. "The plaintiff's complaint is bereft of any facts tending to demonstrate that the plaintiff's injuries were a direct result of the defendant's conduct," the court wrote in its ruling.