Three More Law Firms Join Class Action Lawsuit Against Apple Over iPhone 6 'Touch Disease'

Three additional law firms have joined a class action lawsuit against Apple over an alleged defect that causes iPhone 6 Plus touchscreens to become unresponsive and fail.

Back in August, reports began appearing from iPhone 6 owners describing an apparently latent manufacturing issue that causes a flickering bar to appear at the top of the screen and the display to become unresponsive or less responsive to touch.


A week later, three iPhone 6 owners filed a complaint with the U.S. District Court of Northern California after their devices presented symptoms of the problem – dubbed "touch disease" by repair website iFixit – which Apple has yet to publicly acknowledge.

Yesterday, Motherboard reported that lawyers who filed the class action complaint earlier this fall have now signed on three additional law firms to support their case, while an additional class action lawsuit related to the issue has been filed against Apple in Utah.

Richard McCune, an attorney in the California case, said he has been contacted by 10,000 people asking to join the suit, which accuses Apple of violating the state's consumer fraud statutes, negligent misrepresentation, breach of implied warranty, unjust enrichment, and other consumer act violations.

The "touch disease" flaw is thought to be caused by the touchscreen controller chips soldered to the iPhone's logic board losing contact after a period of normal usage, because of Apple's failure to incorporate a metal shield. So far, Apple has refused to repair the out-of-warranty iPhones without charge when the defect manifests. Worse, replacement refurbished handsets costing owners $329 have reportedly shown symptoms of the same problem within days or weeks of being issued.

iPhone-5s-metal-shield
Motherboard claims five separate current and former Apple Geniuses have confirmed that Apple is aware of the problem but will not tell customers about it.

However, Apple's filed response to the most recent Utah complaint appears at least to signal a legal acknowledgement of the issue and the company's lawyers have requested an "extension of time to respond to the Complaint" and asked that the Utah and California cases be combined into one.

Given the similarity between the [Utah] and [California] actions, it would unnecessarily tax judicial resources if these actions were to proceed in separate class action lawsuits—especially where the [Utah] and [California] Plaintiffs purport to represent the same putative class of all consumers who purchased an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus.

On Friday, McCune filed an updated lawsuit against Apple that includes several new plaintiffs and formally adds the three separate law firms to the legal battle. "Each of the firms (who had their own clients) brings strength to the case, including Stephen Larson of Larson O'Brien, who is a former Federal Judge," McCune told Motherboard. "With these firms working with us, we believe it gives us the best chance of obtaining a positive result in the case for the owners of the phones."

Tag: lawsuit

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
50 months ago
This will lead to a repair program. People who experience this in the future will appreciate the efforts of those pushing apple at the moment to acknowledge the issue and take action. This is a rinse and repeat of previous issues like the nvidia GPUs in MacBooks
Score: 45 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
50 months ago
Apple vs Samsung...Choose your poison.
Both companies are stubborn...refusing to accept design flaws in their product...come what may. Such a shame!
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
50 months ago

Well I doubt this was worth the 0.4mm or whatever thickness savings it was to drop the metal shield. I'm sure some will think it was. Hopefully this will result in less short-sightedness in the future regarding the subject.

Exactly.

I've certainly rolled my eyes in the past over the previous class action suits (you're holding it wrong, etc) but this one feels legit. I know several people who's phones are suffering from this, mine included. And when the marketplace can organize to protect itself, it's a good thing.

I keep a nice, clean, phone, and never-ever even dropped my 6 (got lucky this round). And this started happening to me in August…out of warranty, and just in time for the 7, even though I would've waited till next year had the phone kept working properly. Now, that wasn't terrible…just inconvenient, and expensive…but the other issue is that this "touch disease" renders my 6 un-sellable, so I can't recoup any $$$ to offset the purchase of the new 7.

Again, lawyers and class actions can certainly be skeevy, but they generally serve a purpose. And sometimes (perhaps in this case) they will do what they are designed to do: 1) hold companies accountable for bad decisions and make them think twice in the future, and 2) giving consumers a bit of relief without them having to spend their own time and effort to pursue an individual resolution.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
50 months ago

Greedy Apple vs Horny Suers.

Really just shows how poor consumer laws are in the USA that you have to resort to lawyers.
Apple know they won't get away with this smoke screen in Australia.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
50 months ago

Lawyers aren't always awesome, and class actions can be flawed, but I would much rather the private sector police itself than give yet more power and money to the government bureaucracy.

Sounds good in theory, but in practice... not so much.

Should Apple come out and admit that the problem exists, they'll claim that "only a handful of people" are affected. They'll most likely set up a replacement program for those affected. "affected" as in , "bring the phone in to an Apple store and if it fails some predetermined test then it will be replaced, but if to doesn't, too bad". The replacement unit will have the same flaws and will eventually fail at some later point (AFTER the expiration date of the program).

There are way too many units out in the field to man-up and declare a recall. Apple will set up the replacement program, people will rejoice over Apple "doing the right thing", damage control complete. The losers will be those who have phones that fail after the expiration date (or whose replacement phones fail again). And some will say, "well, 2-3 years is long enough lifespan for a flagship phone."
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
50 months ago
Well I doubt this was worth the 0.4mm or whatever thickness savings it was to drop the metal shield. I'm sure some will think it was. Hopefully this will result in less short-sightedness in the future regarding the subject.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Takes Legal Action Against Small Company With Pear Logo

Saturday August 8, 2020 11:09 am PDT by
Apple is taking legal action against the developers of the app "Prepear" due to its logo, according to iPhone in Canada. Prepear is an app that helps users discover recipes, plan meals, make lists, and arrange grocery deliveries. The app is a spinoff of "Super Healthy Kids," and the founders claim that they are facing litigation from Apple. Apple reportedly takes issue with Prepear's logo, ...

Kuo: Global iPhone Shipments Could Decline Up to 30% If Apple Forced to Remove WeChat From App Store [Updated x2]

Sunday August 9, 2020 10:17 pm PDT by
In a worst-case scenario, Apple's annual global iPhone shipments could decline by 25–30% if it is forced to remove WeChat from its App Stores around the world, according to a new research note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo viewed by MacRumors. The removal could occur due to a recent executive order aiming to ban U.S. transactions with WeChat and its parent company Tencent. Kuo lays out...

Google Maps Debuts New Apple Watch App and CarPlay Features

Monday August 10, 2020 9:16 am PDT by
Google today announced the launch of several features for Google Maps on Apple products, including new CarPlay functionality and a new Google Maps app that works on Apple Watch. The new Google Maps app for Apple Watch works similarly to the iOS app, allowing Apple Watch owners to get directions for a car, bike, public transit, or on foot. The app supports estimated arrival times and...

Foxconn Reportedly Begins Seasonal Hiring Spree for iPhone 12 Production

Monday August 10, 2020 7:03 am PDT by
Apple's largest manufacturing partner Foxconn has begun its seasonal hiring spree to assist with iPhone 12 production, offering employees who recruit qualified applicants up to a 9,000 yuan bonus, according to Chinese media reports. As usual, Foxconn needs as many hands on deck as possible at its factory in Zhengzhou, China to assist with mass production of the upcoming iPhones. Apple is...

Apple May Release 4G-Only iPhone 12 in Early 2021

Tuesday August 11, 2020 5:28 am PDT by
In a research note shared by Business Insider, Wedbush Securities analysts said that Apple may release a cheaper iPhone 12 in early 2021 with no 5G connectivity. Wedbush initially believed Apple would launch a mix of 4G and 5G iPhone 12 models this fall. Following re-examination of Asian supply chains, analysts Daniel Ives, Strecker Backe, and Ahmad Khalil revised the predictions,...

2020 iMac Teardown Reveals Internal Changes and Similarities

Saturday August 8, 2020 12:44 pm PDT by
A teardown video, shared by OWC, reveals the internal changes in the new 2020 27-inch iMac. The 2020 27-inch iMac was announced earlier this week with 10th-generation Intel Core processors, AMD Radeon Pro 5000 series graphics, up to 128GB of RAM, up to 8TB of storage, a 1080p front-facing FaceTime camera, a True Tone display with a nano-texture glass option, higher fidelity speakers, and...

Apple Believes This German Cycling Path Logo Infringes on Its Own Logo

Wednesday May 1, 2019 9:51 am PDT by
Apple recently objected to the logo of a new German cycling path in an appeal filed with the German Patent and Trademark Office, according to German outlets General-Anzeiger Bonn and Westdeutscher Rundfunk. Apple reportedly takes issue with the logo's green leaf and supposed "bitten" right side, attributes the company believes are too similar to its own logo. The logo, registered with the ...

Apple Seeds First Public Beta of watchOS 7 to Public Beta Testers

Monday August 10, 2020 10:33 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the first public beta of an upcoming watchOS 7 update to public beta testers, one week after seeding the fourth beta to developers and a month and a half after the Worldwide Developers Conference. The update can be downloaded after installing the proper profile from Apple's Public Beta website. watchOS 7 should not be installed on a primary device as it is still an early...

Apple Watch Likely to Adopt MicroLED Display Technology in 3-4 Years

Monday August 10, 2020 2:55 am PDT by
This year's Apple Watch Series 6 is expected to feature an OLED screen like previous models, but a future model is likely to be the first Apple product to adopt MicroLED display technology, albeit not for another three to four years. That's the main takeaway reading between the lines of comments made by the chairman of Epistar, Taiwan's top LED producer, which is reportedly working on a...

Apple Seeds iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 Public Beta 4 to Testers

Thursday August 6, 2020 10:05 am PDT by
Apple today seeded new public betas of upcoming iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 updates to its public beta testing group. Today's software releases, which Apple labels as fourth betas to keep them in line with developer betas, are actually the third betas that Apple has provided and they come two weeks after the prior beta releases. Public beta testers who have signed up for Apple's beta testing...