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Judge throws out case involving faulty iPhone power button

GigaOM reports that a judge in San Jose this week threw out a case alleging that Apple sold the iPhone 4 and 4S knowing full well that the devices featured a faulty power button designed to malfunction after the warranty expired.

The case was originally filed by two men in California who sought class-action status. The lawsuit asserted that the power button on both the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S becomes "stuck and nonfunctional" three months after the warranty expires. The plaintiffs further argued that both Apple and AT&T were aware of the defect and shipped the products regardless. What's more, the suit alleges that both Apple and AT&T took steps to conceal the existence of the defect.

What's interesting here, if not downright comical, is that the plaintiffs attempted to portray the power button issue as a safety hazard to the extent that users with affected devices would not be able to power down their devices on airplanes. They also argued that affected devices are not always capable of rebooting, thereby becoming unusable and preventing individuals from calling 911 in the case of an emergency.

Naturally, US District Judge Gary Feess wasn't buying what the plaintiffs were selling.

The ruling reads in part:

Plaintiffs' alleged safety concerns are far too speculative to warrant imposing a duty to disclose. If an iPhone power button prevents a phone from being turned off for flight, the owner can readily notify a flight attendant, who can then take whatever action is deemed appropriate. Moreover, the Court is not aware of any authority that if a cell phone owner has a heart attack or otherwise needs to call 911, but cannot because of any defect in the phone, the phone manufacturer is liable. "Glitches" like the one Plaintiffs allude to could happen at any time in any phone for an untold number of reasons, and thus could make placing an emergency call difficult ... Plaintiffs' purported safety defects are so remote and speculative as to fail as safety hazards as a matter of law.

Note that this case is entirely different from the case we reported on a few months ago involving a Florida woman suing Apple over the very same issue.



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Gigaom reports that a judge in San Jose this week threw out a case alleging that Apple sold the iPhone 4 and 4S knowing full well that the device featured a faulty power button designed to malfunction after the warranty expired.