A new Class Action lawsuit has been initiated by Rendell Roman against Apple on behalf of individuals who purchased devices from Apple that use the Lightning connector that is prone to fraying, breakage, failure and beyond. The complaint alleges that Apple possessed knowledge of the defect prior to distributing the Lightning connector.
The Official Preliminary Statement
This is a class action lawsuit brought by Plaintiff, and on behalf of a nationwide class of individuals who purchased an Apple product that came equipped with the Apple Lightning connector ("Lightning") from Defendant, Apple, Inc. ("Apple" or "Defendant"). To date, the Apple products that can be charged and connected to the computer exclusively by the Lightning include: the iPhone 5, iPad (fourth generation), iPad Mini, iPod Nano (seventh generation), and iPod Touch (fifth generation) (collectively "Apple devices").
On September 12, 2012, Apple introduced Lightning as the new cable used to charge and synchronize content for its new hardware devices, including the highly anticipated iPhone 5, which sold in excess of five million units over the weekend following its launch.
In its official press release materials on September 12, 2012, Apple touted the new Lightning cable as being "designed for today's uses" and "smaller, smarter and more durable than the previous connector."
In Apple's press release and advertising videos, the Lightning connectors were shown to easily plug in and out of the iPhone device, without issues of deterioration, breakage, or failure. These images and representations understandably and intentionally led consumers to believe that one could use the Lightning cables repeatedly during normal use to plug and unplug the cable in order to recharge or sync their Apple devices.
Based upon Apple's representations, Plaintiff and members of the Class purchased the new Apple devices with the Lightning connectors.
However, contrary to Apple's representations, advertisements, and statements, the Lightning is defective and is prone to fraying, breakage, deterioration, and failure, and does substantially fray, break, deteriorate, and fail.
In particular, the Lightning end that plugs into the Apple device deteriorates, externally and/or internally, to such a degree so as to make charging the Apple device completely impossible, or possible only by positioning the cord in a specific manner, using electric tape, or something similar, to hold the Lightning cable together, or other means to maintain the connection and angle between the Lightning and the Apple device. The deterioration can and does become so severe that the exposed wires of the eroded Lightning create a safety hazard.
These exposed wires have led to sparks and fires, endangering the health and safety of consumers and the public. To the best of Plaintiff's knowledge and information, the failure occurs because of the poor quality and manufacture of the Lightning connectors, regardless of the level of care taken by consumers in using the Lightning.
This defect is common to all Lightning cables, even when consumers use and care for the cable as recommended and intended by Apple.
The defect in the Lightning renders it unsuitable for its principal and intended purpose; namely, being the exclusive means for synchronizing data for and charging the battery of the associated Apple devices.
The consistent failure of the Lightning leaves consumers with useless, expensive Apple devices, unless and until they purchase a replacement Lightning. Due to the Lightning's proprietary nature, consumers are forced to purchase replacements directly from Apple, the sole manufacturer of the Lightning, in order to recharge and continue using their Apple devices.
Apple, which has acknowledged the problem with the Lightning, responded to users' complaints by denying coverage beyond the warranty period for the associated devices and requiring them to purchase replacement cables from Apple.
In addition to the hundreds of dollars paid to purchase the Apple devices charged by the Lightning Connector, Plaintiff and members of the Class paid either $19 or $29 for replacement Lightning cables, expecting, in return, that Apple would provide fully functioning, durable cables. Instead, Apple delivered an admittedly defective product that fails to adequately perform its intended function, requiring Plaintiff and Class members to purchase multiple replacement Lightning cables–oftentimes once every two or three months–in order to continue using their Apple devices.
Apple's conduct violates, inter alia, California warranty laws.
Moreover, Apple possessed knowledge of the defect prior to distributing the Lightning, in violation of California consumer protection laws. In 2012, Apple spent approximately $3.4 billion on research and development, recently stating that "focused investments in research and development are critical to its future growth and competitive position in the marketplace and are directly related to timely development of new and enhanced products." Prior to release, Apple undergoes stringent in-house testing of its hardware devices, which would have revealed the Lightning's defect. In failing to disclose the defect at the same time it was promoting the brilliant design and superior durability of the Lightning, Apple committed fraud upon the millions of unsuspecting customers who purchased Apple products chargeable only by the Lightning without any knowledge of the defect.
Another aspect of the complaint listed various testimonials found on the web. The complaint formally cited this incident:
"One consumer experienced a more severe incident and warned, "Beware these are very dangerous, picked up my charging phone in my car and was shocked by exposed wires [of my iPhone 5 cable]. I then began checking mine and my husband's other iPhone 5 cables to realized that they are all breaking in the same exact spot. Not worth $19.99 Apple needs to recall these cables and introduce a new reinforced design. NOT HAPPY!" (Kasey B from Baytown, Sep 6, 2013).
They also referenced the YouTube video noted below.
The Class Action filed against Apple includes Seven Causes of Action as Follows:
- Violation of Consumers Legal Remedies Act California Civil Code § 1750
- False and Misleading Advertising in Violation of California Business and Professions Code § 17500
- Unlawful, Unfair, and Fraudulent Business Practices in Violation of California Business and Professions Code § 17200
- Violations of Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act 15 U.S.C. §§ 2301-2312
- Breach of Express Warranty
- Unjust Enrichment
- Declaratory Relief
The Class Action case presented in today's report was filed in the California Northern District Court, Santa Clara Office under "Other Fraud."
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