On Wednesday, Judge Maxine M. Chesney dismissed, for good, a consumer suit filed by a minor plaintiff against gaming platform Roblox Corporation. The opinion said that the suit, which accused Roblox of failing to honor a California law requiring it to refund minors upon request, was unripe for adjudication.
The 2022 case centered on Roblox’s offerings to minors. The platform has a suite of games on “a virtual world built by players, for players,” and a virtual currency called Robux which allows users to purchase virtual experiences, games, and avatars.
The complaint contended that the minor plaintiff made purchases, with his own money, that he regretted and wished to obtain a refund for. He argued entitlement to such a refund either because his contract with Roblox was “voidable,” under California law, insofar as a minor is entitled to “disaffirm a contract,” or, because it was “void,” under California law, as a minor cannot enter into a contract relating to personal property not in the minor’s immediate possession or control.
The suit stated four claims for relief related to the plaintiffs’ alleged right to disaffirm the contract, including unjust enrichment. It also sought restitution in the amount paid to Roblox and an injunction requiring the San Francisco Bay Area company to allow for refunds on all minor-made in-game purchases without restrictions.
Previously, Judge Chesney dismissed the suit because the plaintiff had not actually sought a refund and therefore could not argue that Roblox denied him one unfairly. In the present decision, the court said the plaintiff’s curative arguments were unpersuasive in ruling that it still lacked subject matter jurisdiction.
Judge Chesney explained that the initial complaint did not allege that the plaintiff requested a refund, much less that Roblox denied such request. This time, the plaintiff tried to overcome the unripeness finding by arguing that Roblox’s obligation to provide the plaintiff a refund came due on May 5, 2022, the date on which he filed his initial complaint. Yet the court reiterated that the case or controversy requirement can be created, in the first instance, by the filing of a lawsuit.
Void of facts to support a finding that a request for a refund would have been futile, the court dismissed the suit with prejudice.