Lawsuit Claims Swollen Apple Watch Batteries Can Lead to 'Substantial Personal Injury'

Every generation of the Apple Watch has a battery swelling defect that can cause operational failures and injuries from broken screens, states a new class action lawsuit that has been filed against Apple.

apple watch swollen

An Apple Watch with detached display caused by swollen battery, via Shawn Miller.

According to the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, Apple has manufactured the watch in a way that allows the lithium cobalt oxide battery to contact the watch screen, and in situations where the battery swells, it can cause the display to pop up.

In situations where the display is damaged by the battery, "razor-sharp edges" are exposed, which can lead to injury.

Despite knowing the battery can suddenly swell, the Complaint alleges that Apple allocated insufficient room inside the Apple Watch for it to freely expand without affecting the screen face and/or failed to incorporate a protective guard to keep it from contacting the screen face.

The swelling creates considerable upward pressure on the Apple Watch face, allegedly causing detachment, shattering, and/or cracking of the screen through no fault of the wearer. When this happens, it exposes razor-sharp edges and leads to operational failure and/or injuries resulting from unintended bodily contact with the detached, shattered, or cracked screen.

The lawsuit describes a situation where a man named Chris Smith had an Apple Watch Series 3 that saw the screen detach due to the battery swelling three years after the device was originally purchased. He was in a golf cart and reached down from the steering wheel to place it in motion, when the detached screen "severely sliced" the underside of his forearm, cutting a vein. The lawsuit includes images of a deep cut on Smith's arm along with descriptions of other incidents where an Apple Watch display detached from the body but did not result in injury.

All Apple Watch models minus the Apple Watch Series 7 are included in the lawsuit, and it covers Apple Watches of every size and model. The suit claims that the defect poses a "material and unreasonable safety hazard to consumers, and has caused "many purchasers" to suffer from "lacerations, cuts, abrasions, and/or other injuries."

The lawsuit also suggests that Apple is aware that its Apple Watches were defective before it began selling them, and that the company failed to disclose this defect that could lead to harm to the wearer.

Apple uniformly failed to disclose that the Watches contained the Defect that would cause them to fail and render them an unreasonable safety hazard resulting in injury to the wearer. This makes the Watches unmerchantable and unfit for the uses Apple advertised, e.g., activity oriented, fitness, athletic use, health, and safety.

Plaintiffs in the case are seeking general, special, incidental, statutory, punitive, and consequential damages, as well as the costs for replacing their Apple Watches. The suit also asks that Apple "adequately disclose the defective nature of the Watch" and that attorneys fees and costs be paid.

It's worth noting that this is not the first time that Apple has faced a lawsuit over swollen Apple Watch batteries. Back in 2019, a class action lawsuit targeted the company and accused Apple of fraudulent business practices and breach of warranty, with the case using many of the same arguments in the lawsuit that was filed today.

A judge in the case dismissed several claims in that particular lawsuit, ruling that the Apple Watch defect was not caused by faulty batteries or defective internal components. The judge did allow the lawsuit to proceed based on breach of express warranty, but the plaintiff ultimately dismissed the lawsuit.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 7
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)
Related Forum: Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

orbital~debris Avatar
24 weeks ago
Another example of MacRumors reporting news using a formulation that seems intentionally inflammatory (to create more debate here in the forum thread, and thus more viewers of the irritating ads interspersed with our posts?):
?

Compare (as originally posted):

Every generation of the Apple Watch has a battery swelling defect that can cause operational failures and injuries from broken screens, states a new class action lawsuit ('https://www.scribd.com/document/545842377/Smith-v-Apple-Class-Action-Lawsuit') that has been filed against Apple.


With (a simple switch to the sentence construction):

A new class action lawsuit ('https://www.scribd.com/document/545842377/Smith-v-Apple-Class-Action-Lawsuit') that has been filed against Apple states that "every generation of the Apple Watch has a battery swelling defect that can cause operational failures and injuries from broken screens".
Score: 38 Votes (Like | Disagree)
buckwheet Avatar
24 weeks ago
I look down, see my watch battery has swollen and broken the screen. Two options for how to proceed: 1) carefully remove the watch so as to avoid injury, 2) make sure I cut myself on the obviously broken glass in order to initiate legal proceedings against Apple.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jz0309 Avatar
24 weeks ago
While I have read here on MR about some folks experiencing swollen batteries, most seem to happen during charging and not while wearing the watch. Not questioning that it happened to this guy, but a class action suit does not seem appropriate.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
djcerla Avatar
24 weeks ago
New health crisis after COVID-19: the Swollen Watch Substantial Injury (SWSI-21)

Cue the stock market panic NOW
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
lkrupp Avatar
24 weeks ago
Yet another class action lawsuit? Yeah, sure, why not. It gives lawyers something to do other than play the slots in Vegas.

This is why we can’t have nice things.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
foobarbaz Avatar
24 weeks ago
Oh man. The screens are designed to pop open like this if the battery swells, because the alternative is, you know, the watch exploding.

There is no better solution for this. Leaving "more room" just means it happens later.

Yeah, the guy was really, really unlucky. But it's like an airbag going off in your face. There's a slim chance it makes things worse, but overall, it protects a lot of people.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

apple watch abc action news

Apple Watch Saves Woman's Life With Feature She'd Never Heard Of

Wednesday March 23, 2022 1:59 am PDT by
An Apple Watch has been credited with saving a woman's life after it contacted emergency services when she fell, leading to a lung cancer diagnosis, ABC Action News reports. 71-year-old grandmother Raylene Hackenwerth, from Saint Petersburg, Florida, fell in early March, triggering her Apple Watch's Fall Detection feature. The Apple Watch's Fall Detection feature can tell when a wearer has...
Apple Watch Series 7 Pink and Green Feature

Rumored Apple Watch Lineup for 2022 to Include Three New Models

Wednesday December 8, 2021 1:19 am PST by
Respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has today thrown his weight behind rumors that Apple is planning to launch three new Apple Watch models in 2022. In a note to investors seen by MacRumors, Kuo said that the 2022 Apple Watch lineup will include the Apple Watch Series 8, the second-generation Apple Watch SE, and a new "extreme sports" version:The new Apple Watch in 2H22 includes Apple Watch 8,...
watchOS 8 on Apple Watch feature

Apple Releases watchOS 8.4 With Fix for Apple Watch Charging Bug

Wednesday January 26, 2022 9:50 am PST by
Apple today released watchOS 8.4, the third major update to the watchOS 8 operating system that launched in September. watchOS 8.4 comes over a month after the release of watchOS 8.3, an update that added support for the Apple Music Voice Plan. ‌‌watchOS ‌8.4 can be downloaded for free through the dedicated Apple Watch app on the iPhone by going to General > Software Update. To install the...
Kardia Band apple watch

Apple to Face Claims it Bars Third-Party Heart-Rate App Functionality on Apple Watch

Tuesday March 22, 2022 5:14 am PDT by
Apple must face claims it illegally monopolized the U.S. market for heart-rate monitoring apps on Apple Watch, a California-based federal judge said on Monday. AliveCor, a company that that markets an ECG "KardiaBand" for the Apple Watch, filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple in May 2021 accusing the Cupertino company of changing the heart-rate algorithm for the Apple Watch to gain an...
image 40

iOS 15.4 and watchOS 8.5 Allow You to Restore an Apple Watch Using an iPhone

Monday March 14, 2022 1:25 pm PDT by
Apple today published a new support document indicating that iOS 15.4 and watchOS 8.5 allow an Apple Watch to be restored with a nearby iPhone. The support document states that if an Apple Watch running watchOS 8.5 or later displays an animation showing an Apple Watch and iPhone being brought close together, customers can follow the steps below to initiate the restore process:1. Make sure...
apple watch series 7 aluminum colors yellowbg

Apple Watch Charging Bug Fixed in watchOS 8.4 Release Candidate

Thursday January 20, 2022 4:01 pm PST by
The watchOS 8.4 release candidate that was seeded to developers and beta testers this morning addresses an ongoing bug that could cause some Apple Watch chargers not to work properly with the Apple Watch. Back in December, we reported on a growing number of charging issues that Apple Watch Series 7 owners were facing. Since watchOS 8.3, there have been a number of complaints about...
apple watch series 3 trio

Kuo: Apple Watch Series 3 May Finally Be Discontinued Upon Its Fifth Anniversary in Q3 2022

Monday March 21, 2022 6:10 am PDT by
Apple may finally discontinue the Apple Watch Series 3 when it reaches five years of age in the third quarter of 2022, according to reputable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a tweet, Kuo said that the Apple Watch Series 3 may reach the end of its life in the third quarter of 2022 because its computing power will not be able to meet the requirements of a new version of watchOS. The Apple Watch...
apple watch pro

Retail Demo Unit Suggests Apple Considered 'Apple Watch Pro' Branding

Tuesday October 26, 2021 5:03 am PDT by
A file within an Apple Watch retail demo unit suggests that at some point, Apple considered using "Apple Watch Pro" branding for some models of its smartwatch. The file, shared by Apple Demo on Twitter, dated February 26, 2015, is contained within a folder of other Apple Watch logos, including a logo for the Apple Watch Edition and Apple Watch Sport. The image suggests that at some point,...

Popular Stories

iPhone 13 Always On Feature

iPhone 14 Pro Screen Refresh Rate Upgrade Could Allow for Always-On Display

Tuesday May 24, 2022 7:23 am PDT by
Last year's iPhone 13 Pro models were the first of Apple's smartphones to come with 120Hz ProMotion displays, and while the two iPhone 14 Pro models will continue to feature the technology, their screens could well boast expanded refresh rate variability this time round. To bring ProMotion displays to the ‌iPhone 13 Pro models‌, Apple adopted LTPO panel technology with variable refresh...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Front and Back MacRumors Exclusive

iPhone 14 Pro Renders Highlight Multiple Design Changes

Wednesday May 25, 2022 8:56 am PDT by
Leaker Jon Prosser today shared ostensibly accurate renders of the iPhone 14 Pro, providing the most accurate look yet at what the device could look like when it launches later this year. In the latest video on YouTube channel Front Page Tech, Prosser revealed renders of the iPhone 14 Pro made by Apple concept graphic designer Ian Zelbo, highlighting a range of specific design changes...
iPhone 14 Purple Lineup Feature

Will the iPhone 14 Be a Disappointment?

Saturday May 21, 2022 9:00 am PDT by
With around four months to go before Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 14 lineup, the overwhelming majority of rumors related to the new devices so far have focused on the iPhone 14 Pro, rather than the standard iPhone 14 – leading to questions about how different the iPhone 14 will actually be from its predecessor, the iPhone 13. The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are expected...
iPhone 13 Face ID

'High-End' iPhone 14 Front-Facing Camera to Cost Apple Three Times More

Monday May 23, 2022 7:05 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 will feature a more expensive "high-end" front-facing camera with autofocus, partly made in South Korea for the first time, ET News reports. Apple reportedly ousted a Chinese candidate to choose LG Innotek, a South Korean company, to supply the iPhone 14's front-facing camera alongside Japan's Sharp. The company is said to have originally planned to switch to LG for the iPhone...
apple wwdc 2022

Apple Shares WWDC 2022 Schedule, Keynote to Take Place June 6 at 10:00 a.m PT

Tuesday May 24, 2022 9:06 am PDT by
Apple today confirmed that the keynote event for the Worldwide Developers Conference will begin at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time on June 6, the first day of WWDC. The keynote will be an online-only event, though a select number of developers have been invited to the Apple Park campus for a viewing event. In addition to confirming the keynote date and time, Apple has shared the full WWDC 2022...
2022 Apple Watch Pride Edition Bands

Apple Announces 2022 Pride Edition Watch Bands and Watch Face

Tuesday May 24, 2022 6:24 am PDT by
Apple today announced new Pride bands for the Apple Watch, with new Pride Edition Sport Loop and Pride Edition Nike Sport Loop options available. The new Pride Edition bands are available to order today for $49 on Apple.com and in the Apple Store app, and will be available at Apple Store locations starting May 26. The Pride Edition Nike Sport Loop is also coming soon to Nike.com. This...