Apple sued over iPhone 'touch disease'

The court filing proposes a nationwide class action suit that would cover anyone in the US who's purchased an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus.
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer

Owners of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have filed a proposed class action lawsuit against Apple for failing to address the so-called "touch disease" that's rendering some of the smartphones useless.

The design flaw, which causes the screen on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus to flicker and become unresponsive, came to light last week after repair specialists at iFixit said "a ton" of iPhone 6 Plus handsets have experienced the problem. The complaint filed in the US District Court for Northern California alleges that Apple concealed the defect and has refused to fix it for customers.

"Apple has long been aware of the defective iPhones," the complaint says. "Yet, notwithstanding its longstanding knowledge of this design defect, Apple routinely has refused to repair the iPhones without charge when the defect manifests."

Three plaintiffs are listed on the suit: Todd Cleary of California, Jun Bai of Delaware, and Thomas Davidson of Pennsylvania. All three purchased iPhones that eventually suffered from "touch disease", and in each case, Apple declined to make repairs. In lieu of repairing the phones, Apple offered to replace each of the plaintiffs' phones for a fee of more than $300.

"Plaintiffs' experiences are by no means isolated or outlying occurrences. Indeed, the internet is replete with examples of blogs and other websites where consumers have complained of the exact same Touchscreen Defect within the iPhones."

The plaintiffs, the suit says, seek to represent a "nationwide class" that would include any person or entity in the US that purchased an Apple iPhone 6 or 6 Plus. "Members of the Class are so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable," the suit says.

Indeed, while Apple saw its lowest iPhone sales in years in the third quarter, the product is still hugely popular. CEO Tim Cook last month announced that Apple has now sold 1 billion iPhones, a staggering number reached in less than a decade.

The suit specifically accuses Apple of violating the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, as well as violating the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act and other California consumer protection laws. It also accuses the company of fraud, negligent misrepresentation, unjust enrichment, and breach of implied warranty. The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified damages.

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