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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."

Related Roundup: iPhone 6s
Tag: lawsuit
Buyer's Guide: iPhone (Neutral)


Top Rated Comments

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7 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
Rating: 45 Votes
7 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!
Rating: 30 Votes
7 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.
Rating: 22 Votes
7 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.
Rating: 15 Votes
7 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."
Rating: 14 Votes
7 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.
Rating: 11 Votes
7 months ago

Obviously this was not intentional and whatever the flaw, Apple typically does a hardware switch when it can. It may be they simply do not have non-defective handsets to replace them with. Apple may end up replacing them with 6S and 6S+ handsets as the settlement for the lawsuit. To me the sooner the better so the issue gets out of consumers minds sooner. With the recent Samsung battery defect, it seems it at least puts two large competitors on an even playing field of oops moments.


With all Due Respect. I do not see a level playing field. One deals with TC failing not allowing one to dribble on Facebook. The other explodes in airliners, people hands, pockets, purses, and homes. :apple:
Rating: 7 Votes
7 months ago

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.


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.
Rating: 7 Votes
7 months ago
How would an EMI shield over the suspect chip have prevented this exactly? If it's separating from the PCB it needs underfill.
Rating: 7 Votes
7 months ago
Greedy Apple vs Horny Suers.
Rating: 6 Votes

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