$54 Million Best Buy Lawsuit Over Lost Laptop Dismissed

Raelyn Campbell’s $54 million pro se lawsuit against Best Buy over her lost laptop was dismissed on a procedural issue, thus showing the difficultly of suing a big company for a lot of money without a real lawyer. The trouble all started when she sent a laptop in for repairs to Best Buy, who lost it gave her the runaround for months, and then tried to buy her off with a $900 gift card. They later upped their offer to $1,100, but Raelyn decided to make ‘em pay for all the lost photos and tax returns and the potential privacy invasion, and, to get big headlines, went for $54 million. She got some decent press, including a Today show appearance, but no money. In fact, she also had to pay the other side’s legal fees, all two hours worth. I think she got what she was looking for, though: the satisfaction of getting Best Buy’s name in the national spotlight for their tendency to let customers’ laptops get lost and not really care about it. You can read the docket here.

$54 Million Lawsuit Against Best Buy? Poof, Gone [NAM] (Thanks to Wade!)
PREVIOUSLY: Woman Sues Best Buy For $54 Million Over Lost Laptop

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  1. snoop-blog says:

    I’m very dissapointed. She STILL got shafted. I don’t think the bad pr was bad enough.

  2. Truvill says:

    Can’t decide whether she went with a price too high or maybe didn’t document enough of BB’s runaround.

    Still, it’s convinced never to shop there again.

  3. Pro-Pain says:

    Same thing happend to me with Best Buy and a laptop. I lost the chargeback too. I think Best Buy has the card compaines in their pocket now. DO NOT buy anything of value from this store. You have been warned.

  4. goodcow says:

    How much were Best Buy’s legal fees?

  5. celticgina says:

    AND cue the
    “don’t shop at Best Buy”

    AND the

    “it was her fault for shopping at Best Buy”

    Ready?
    Go!

  6. thirdbase says:

    I wanna see those pictures from her laptop. I mean she’s kinda hot.

  7. Megatenist says:

    This just adds more fuel to the Anti-Best Buy fire

  8. sp00nix says:

    HAHA dumb ass. Asked for to much, and was to proud to ask for help. Now shes paying for her attitude, and now shes out a laptop + legal fees.

  9. JustThatGuy3 says:

    This case is why we need loser pays in our civil litigation system. Best Buy had to spend thousands to defend itself against a suit that was frivolous on the face of it ($54MM? Was this laptop a Cray? Did it have SkyNet on it?).

    The fact that she’ll have to pay about $800-1000 in legal fees to Best Buy is a bit of consolation, but not enough.

  10. sp00nix says:

    She reminds me of this one lady who brought in her Vaio that needed to be re-imaged. We used the discs proovided by sony. She insisted we did it wrong and that she was missing all this software that “came with it” after months of argung and even SENDING IT TO SONY for a re-image, the results were the same. She still blamed us for what ever it was, even after she talked to sony who backed us up. Its people liek this that kill the credit for anyone who complains. BB has so many customers, that if 1% complained it would seem like thousands. 1% is not alot.

  11. urban_ninjya says:

    She tried to make a mockery of the legal system and tried to sue for non-actual damages. I don’t think she made $54 million in her life. There’s no way all that information is even worth close to that much.

    She got what she deserved (paying legal fees). She should of taken it to small claims and sued for something more reasonable.

  12. timmus says:

    I’m really astounded a judge would just dismiss the case like that. Frankly it’s cowardly. A good judge worth their salt would have found for the plaintiff (anyone with a brain would know that BB is at fault) and awarded a very tiny fraction of the damages, and be done with.

  13. Shadowman615 says:

    In general, asking too much won’t get your case thrown out by itself; although it may result in a reduced award.

  14. edosan says:

    -1 point to her for taking a laptop with tax information and giving it to someone else

    -1 point for not having backups

    -1 point for not reading the disclaimer she probably signed saying they take no responsibility for lost data (pretty standard for any computer repair)

  15. sp00nix says:

    @JustThatGuy3: I think it was a gibson.

    [binrock.net]

  16. Skankingmike says:

    the lawsuit is stupid, why do people constantly sue out of making a point.

    THAT IS WHY EVERYTHING COSTS SO DAMN MUCH!!!!!!

    STOP THE DAMN SUITS

    Take the money they offer you and never go back.

  17. Pasketti says:

    She asked for WAY too much money.

    If she’d kept it reasonable, she’d probably have had better luck.

    Yeah, it sucks that they lost her laptop and all the stuff on it, but that doesn’t mean that she deserves to retire to her own private island.

  18. LorneReams says:

    @Skankingmike:
    What they offered was a joke though… a BB card for like 75% of the value? I would have wanted a new laptop, and I would have expected to get it. The lawsuit was hilarious though.

  19. tamoko says:

    @Pasketti: Yeah, she aimed too high. She should of just pegged a nice, round, realistic number, and still get the satisfaction of smearing Best Buy’s name all over the media.

  20. gglockner says:

    She’s an idiot. If her data were truly worth $54 million, she should have made backups. If her laptop were damaged in a fire, would she have been able to collect $54 million from insurance? What if it was lost, damaged or stolen?

    Best Buy offered to replace the computer. Protecting the data was her responsibility. End of story.

  21. CRSpartan01 says:

    I wonder what the procedural issues actually were..

  22. jtheletter says:

    @Skankingmike: If you follow up on the original story you’ll see that BB didn’t even offer her what the laptop was worth.
    And the whole reason she chose such a ridiculous value was to bring attention to the case, she wanted publicity to put the spotlight on BB. She has said as much in interviews.
    BB screwed up, gave her the run-around (nothing new in any of this) and then tried to buy her off for less than the computer was worth, she’s trying to bring public attention to BB’s modus operandi. If anything she’s helping to educate the masses who think geek squad service is a good idea. Isn’t that what people are always whining about here? Blaming the consumer for not knowing better? High profile cases like this educate those people who otherwise don’t know enough about computers to avoid big box repair centers.
    Her mistake was trying to pull this off w/o a lawyer, the system is set up to be as complex as any side is willing to make it, you really need someone with the specific knowledge to get things done unfortunately.

  23. CRSpartan01 says:

    Generally the justice system is really lenient with pro se parties. She must have really biffed it to get her case dismissed on a procedural issue.

  24. nequam says:

    A clarification … it appears that although she initially was ordered to pay (as a sanction) 2-hours worth of Best Buy’s fee, a review of the court’s docket shows that the court ordered BB to file a proposed santcion order and, ultimately, denied it. Bottom line, ahe doesn’t have to pay those fees.

  25. nequam says:

    @CRSpartan01:You’re correct about the special precaution the courts typically take with pro se parties. However, the rules are clear that all procedural rules apply to pro se parties. Also, something as fundamental as service of process cannot be overlooked by the court. It is essentially a jurisdictional issue, meaning that if it is not done properly, the court has not authority to hear the case.

    What may be lost in this discussion is that she could have fixed the problem in the meantime (while the motions were pending), but did not.

  26. I’d actually like to know what the suit was dismissed on if it was procedural, all she had to do was file a well pleaded complaint, and the thing might have at least made it to discovery

  27. HOP says:

    why do people still shop at thhat terrible joint????

  28. Derp says:

    @JustThatGuy3:

    Excellent Terminator reference.

  29. Javert says:

    @CRSpartan01: From just the docket it looks like she screwed up the service of the documents. Unfortunately, it does not go further into it, i.e., did she serve the wrong people or was the method incorrect.

  30. EBone says:

    Somewhere there’s a BB tech support guy wankerin’ himself between her pics and her tax returns…

  31. Flame says:

    Process service on a corporation can be very very tricky. And, if not done right, will get thrown out. of course, this does not mean that she can’t re-file in small claims court, or even with district court. The difference is: with prejudice, or without prejudice.

  32. Skankingmike says:

    @jtheletter: First off Laptops have a horrible resale value so from a VALUE standpoint 1100 dollars isn’t so bad (900 is a little weak but i can buy a damn good laptop for everyday use off Dell for like 600 bucks)

    The lawsuit was frivolous and she did it pro se. Just an FYI but Judges don’t usually like Pro se people mainly because the briefs they write quote laws that are so old and have been proven moot in case law which they generally never bring up.

    My wife interned with a judge and hated all pro se’s Brief’s they’re filled with too much info that never hits the point or ever quotes case law.

    and geek squad is RETAIL COMPUTER HELP. if you want real computer technicians use a phone book. that’s pretty simple i think or the internet.

  33. Lambasted says:

    @gglockner: I like your insurance analogy. You’re right. Her insurance wouldn’t have put a value on her data and covered its loss and neither should Buy’s insurance.

    This makes me think of valet car services and how people leave important stuff in their car all the time and then hand their car over to strangers.

  34. Thain says:

    Not that I enjoy taking Best Buy’s side, but she honestly got what she deserved. She turned her attempt at compensation into a crusade, and got slapped hard for it. Best Buy initially offered her a $900 gift card (she just says she paid “Over $1,100…not how much over), which was probably about what the computer was actually worth (if the notebook has even a month of age, you’re not going to get what you paid, just like car insurance isn’t going to give you the cost of a new car if you total your car. She bought this thing in 2006). If she had been smart, she would have accepted the $2,500 settlement that Best Buy offered her. THAT would have replaced her computer. Instead, she’s left with her own legal fees, a lost/stolen computer, and no settlement whatsoever. It’s a classic case of not knowing when to quit.

    -She initially demanded $2,100 in cash. I’m assuming this was to cover the value of the software she lost (for which she should be able to recover license keys from the software providers). If she paid $1,100 plus an extended warranty in 2006, a $900 gift card would more than cover the cost of an equivalent computer today (or even in 2007, just 1 year after purchasing the system). Sure, Best Buy should have offered her a company check instead of a gift card, but $2,100 to cover the lost equipment AND data was an unreasonable demand in and of itself, since Best Buy was under no obligation to protect her data (no warranty provider will ever accept responsibility for lost data).

    -Rather than trying to build up a class-action case that might have actually brought about some change in the way Best Buy handles customer’s laptops (especially when shipping them out to a vendor), she tried to handle a massive, ridiculous lawsuit by herself.

    -Rather than looking at the big picture and realizing that there’s a good chance that Best Buy didn’t even have her notebook and it was actually their shipping agent that lost the notebook, she picked the obvious (and rich) target, and couldn’t even pull off her attack right in a case that probably would have favored her much more than she deserved to be favored.

    No matter what she claims, this was a frivolous lawsuit, and she’s nothing more than a media-whore. Sadly, I’m sure that her loss is going to make it harder for people with legitimate grievances to file suit in the future.

  35. dorkins says:

    I think the $54 mil number was symbolic … same as the “pants” judge

  36. trujunglist says:

    @urban_ninjya:

    You’re putting a price on someone’s potentially nude pictures? Just because you might be a $5 hooker doesn’t mean that she is.
    Anyway, the point of the amount was symbolic as has already been said.

  37. gomakemeasandwich says:

    @urban_ninjya:

    No, she tried to make a mockery of Best Buy and failed. It’s people with their bullshit “slip and fall” and other bullshit along with their shady lawyers who make a mockery of the legal system.

  38. gomakemeasandwich says:

    @HOP:

    Because it’s usually the only joint in town. Newegg is so much better.

  39. gomakemeasandwich says:

    @thirdbase:

    She’s kind of hot? Have you been drinking?

  40. gomakemeasandwich says:

    What is it with some of you retards? Everyone knows the value of her data isn’t 54 million dollars, the reason the amount is so high is because she wanted to bring attention to the epidemic of Worst Buy fucking up every aspect of being an electronics business.

  41. Consumer007 says:

    @sp00nix: UM HELLO THEY LOST HER LAPTOP AND LIED ABOUT IT. What part of that don’t you understand?

    Get a clue.

  42. Consumer007 says:

    @Thain: While one can certainly make a good argument the $2500 might have been a good offer to accept, who the hell are you to say consumers don’t have a right to make a big deal in the media about these big nasty putrid corporations that treat them like crap? And to sue them big time civilly? We ALL have that right, and you shouldn’t denigrate her for exercising hers. She is a hero whether she won the lawsuit or not and has bigger balls than you ever will.

  43. beigemore says:

    She should have taken the money they offered her up front. Laptops depreciate quickly, and Best Buy’s warranty things say they replace the item with its current equivalent that they sell in the store, which is not based on a dollar value (I had one exchanged the same way, so I know sort of how it works). The current equivalent laptop to what she had purchased was probably 75% of what she originally paid, and they probably offered her the new replacement laptop with equivalent features (which I guess would be an upgrade since she was probably still sporting a Pentium M with no Centrino setup), or the value of the equivalent laptop on a gift card. It makes sense to me.

    She’s dumb for even trying for $54 mil. If her data was that important, she should’ve been backing her data up all along. I personally print my tax documents and back them up to disc, just in case, because you never know what will happen.