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Apple Hit with a Five Count Class Action for the MacBook Pro's 'Defective' Keyboard, the Second lawsuit on this Issue this month

1 cover Apple's butteryfly hinge mechanism patent figure


Earlier this month a petition came to light from Charge.org that demanded Apple take action to fix their MacBook Pro's faulty keyboard. Days later the first class action was filed against Apple regarding this keyboard issue. Late yesterday Apple was hit with a second class action filed by Remy Turner (of Washington), Christopher Martin (of Florida) and Joey baruch (of California) claiming the action was taken due to Apple's "defective" MacBook Pro keyboard which uses a newly invented butterfly key mechanism.


Causes for Action








Summary of the Action


The class action complaint before the court begins with the Summary of Action as presented in full below:


"This action is brought on behalf of all persons in the United States who purchased, other than for resale, a model year 2015 or later Apple MacBook or a model year 2016 or later MacBook Pro laptop (the "Laptops"), which are equipped with "butterfly switch" keyboards (the "Class").


Prior to the introduction of the butterfly switch keyboard in 2015, Apple used a "scissor switch" mechanism for the keyboard keys on its low-profile laptops. The keys are attached to the keyboard via two plastic pieces that interlock in a "scissor"-like fashion, and snap to the keyboard and the key. The scissors mechanism links the key to a plunger that depresses a rubber dome. These keyboards are generally quiet and the keys require little force to press. Because the "scissor switch" is a more closed design than the traditional "rubber-dome" keyboard design, debris is less likely to get under the keys and, by extension, into the rest of the computer. The tradeoff is that scissor-switch keys are more difficult to separate from their base than rubber-domed keys, but they can be removed and replaced.


Butterfly switch keyboards, which Apple began to use in 2015 on MacBooks and in 2016 on MacBook Pros, are even lower profile than scissor switch keyboards. They still propup the keys with two intersecting pieces of plastic, but their profile is so low that the key barely "travels" at all when it is depressed. True to the name, butterfly switches are also extremely delicate, held in place by four tiny threads of brittle plastic.


Because of their very low profile, butterfly switch keyboards are resistant to the accumulation of debris underneath the keys. However, when dust or other tiny particles do get beneath the keys, they are capable of rendering the butterfly switches nonfunctional. Further, the keys cannot be removed without risk of damage to the keyboard, which may void Apple's warranty. Most commonly, problems arise with the keyboards' spacebar keys, which cannot be removed, even by Apple's "Geniuses" at its stores. without risking damage to the keyboards.


The Laptops' defect is substantially certain to manifest. Thousands of consumers have reported sticking or non-responsive keys on their Laptops. Complaints about the butterfly keyboard are prevalent, and include blog posts, tweets, support-forum comments, a Change.org petition1, and even a satirical song and video.


Despite its awareness of the defect, Defendant has advertised and continues to advertise the Laptops as having a superior and highly responsive keyboard, with "four times more key stability than a traditional scissor mechanism." These representations were false and misleading.


Defendant has at all times failed to disclose that the keyboard is defective, because it is prone to malfunction necessitating costly repair and replacement.


Further, although the Laptops come with a one-year written warranty from Defendant, Defendant refuses to honor its warranty obligations, attributing the keyboard defect to owner negligence, or advising Laptop owners to attempt home remedies, such as using compressed air on the keyboard, which it knows will not permanently repair the defect.


Responding to hundreds of complaints on its own website, as well as on social and traditional media sites, Apple has posted a "solution" to the problem on its website, which is also advocated as a remedy by its "Genius" bar employees. The "solution" – which Business Insider has characterized as "absurd" -- requires holding the Laptop at a 75 degree angle with one hand while blowing a spray can of air at the affected keys multiple times. For many Laptop owners, the solution does not work at all; for others, it only works temporarily. When the "solution" does not work, or stops working, the entire lower panel of the Laptop must be replaced. And unfortunately, even replacement does not preclude recurrence of the problem.


All Laptops are sold with a one-year warranty from Apple. However, Apple does not fulfill its warranty obligations, instead directing many customers to self-help solutions when their defective keyboards are rendered inoperable. When Apple does provide warranty service, the keyboard replacement does not ensure a permanent fix. And for consumers outside of the warranty period, Apple denies warranty service, instead directing them to pay for the replacement at a cost of between $400 and $700.


By shipping and selling defective Laptops, Defendant sold and continues to sell goods that are substantially below the quality generally available in the market, are not fit for the use for which they were intended, and are not adequately packaged and labeled. Defendant also concealed and continues to conceal the problems through its marketing, advertising, and packaging of the Laptops."


For full details on this case, review the full Class Action lawsuit filing below provided to you courtesy of Patently Apple  


Second Class Action Against Apple for Faulty MacBook Pro Using Butterfly Key Mechanism by Jack Purcher on Scribd


Today's report covers a class action filed in Northern California, San Jose office. No Judge has been assigned to the case thus far.


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