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 8
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)
Related Forum: Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

orbital~debris Avatar
11 months 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
11 months 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
11 months 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
11 months 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
11 months 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
11 months 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 14 pro max vs 13 max 2

Camera Comparison: iPhone 14 Pro Max vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max

Thursday September 29, 2022 7:44 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max introduce some major improvements in camera technology, adding a 48-megapixel lens and low-light improvements across all lenses with the new Photonic Engine. We've spent the last week working on an in-depth comparison that pits the new iPhone 14 Pro Max against the prior-generation iPhone 13 Pro Max to see just how much better the iPhone 14 Pro Max can be. Subscrib ...
tony blevins car

Apple Procurement VP Departs Company After Vulgar TikTok Comment

Thursday September 29, 2022 12:38 pm PDT by
Tony Blevins, Apple's vice president of procurement, is set to depart the company after he made a crude comment about his profession in a recent TikTok video, reports Bloomberg. Blevins was in a video by TikTok creator Daniel Mac, who was doing a series on the jobs of people he spotted with expensive cars. After seeing Blevins in an expensive Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, Mac asked Blevins what ...
Dark Sky App Featured

Dark Sky Removed From iOS App Store Ahead of Upcoming Shutdown

Wednesday September 28, 2022 4:27 pm PDT by
The Dark Sky weather app that's owned by Apple is no longer available for download in the U.S. App Store, suggesting that it has been removed ahead of schedule. Apple acquired Dark Sky back in March 2020 and has since incorporated elements of the app into the Weather app available on the iPhone (and soon, the iPad). Dark Sky remained available for purchase as a standalone weather app...
adaptive transparency airpods pro

iOS 16.1 Beta Brings Adaptive Transparency to Original AirPods Pro

Thursday September 29, 2022 1:08 pm PDT by
The third beta of iOS 16.1 that was released earlier this week expands the Adaptive Transparency feature introduced with the second-generation AirPods Pro to the original AirPods Pro. As noted on Reddit, first-generation AirPods Pro owners who also have the AirPods beta software will now see an "Adaptive Transparency" toggle in the AirPods section of the Settings app. The 5A304A beta...
tim cook malala

Tim Cook: Not Too Long From Now, You'll Wonder How You Led Your Life Without AR

Thursday September 29, 2022 7:26 am PDT by
Speaking at Università Degli Studi di Napoli Federico II in Naples, Italy, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that not too long from today, people will wonder how they led a life without augmented reality, stressing the "profound" impact it will have on the not so distant future. At the university, Cook was awarded an Honorary Degree in Innovation and International Management and also sat down for a...
iOS 16 Wallpaper Spectrum Feature

Five Wallpaper Apps to Check Out for iOS 16's New Lock Screen Depth Effect

Thursday September 29, 2022 9:08 am PDT by
One of the biggest new features in iOS 16 is a completely redesigned iPhone Lock Screen. The new Lock Screen is entirely customizable, letting you change the colors and fonts, add widgets and new wallpapers, and more to make your iPhone uniquely yours. Of course, even before iOS 16, you could customize your Lock Screen with a wallpaper of your choice. iOS 16 takes the Lock Screen wallpaper...
maxresdefault

Apple Responds to Video Testing Crash Detection Feature With Junkyard Vehicles

Friday September 30, 2022 9:11 am PDT by
The Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern recently traveled to Michigan to test Apple's new crash detection feature on the iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Ultra. In response, Apple provided some additional information about how the feature works. Stern recruited Michael Barabe to crash his demolition derby car with a heavy-duty steel frame into two unoccupied vehicles parked in a junkyard — a 2003...
iphone 14 iphone 14 plus in hand feature

iPhone 14 Is Secretly Hiding a Beloved Mac Feature

Friday September 30, 2022 3:24 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models bring over a longstanding Mac feature, but the setting to enable it is off by default. The feature, which is actually a new accessibility option, allows the iPhone to play a startup chime like the Mac. When enabled, the sound comes alongside a new shutdown chime. The Mac has featured a startup chime since 1987's Macintosh II, and the iconic "bong"...
Hero0005

Best Apple Deals of the Week: M2 MacBook Air Hits New All-Time Low Price at $1,049, Plus Sales on AirPods Pro and More

Friday September 30, 2022 9:05 am PDT by
This week's best Apple deals focus on the AirPods Pro, AirPods Pro 2, and M2 MacBook Air, including numerous all-time low prices on these devices. You'll also find up to 50 percent off discounts on Anker and Eufy accessories on Amazon. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us...
iPhone 15 to Switch From Lightning to USB C in 2023 feature sans arrow

Kuo: iPhone 14 Pro Max Popularity Could Lead to More Differentiation Between iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max

Wednesday September 28, 2022 10:22 am PDT by
Apple has seen high demand for the 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max, which could lead the company to further differentiate the next-generation iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Apple could add exclusive features to the iPhone 15 Pro Max in an effort to encourage more people to purchase the larger and more expensive device. Kuo last week said that Apple asked...