Apple Sued over Swelling Lithium-ion Batteries in Apple Watches that cause Face Displays to Crack and Shatter
Gina Priano-Keyser, residing in New Jersey, has filed a lawsuit against Apple. According to the formal complaint, "The Watches all contain the same defect and/or flaw, specifically, swelling lithium-ion batteries, which in turn causes Apple Watch screens to crack, shatter, or detach from the body of the Watch through no fault of the wearer, oftentimes only days or weeks after purchase. Gina's attorneys are pursing class action status as described in the 'Nature of the Action' below.
Nature of the Action
According to the formal complaint filed with the court, "The Plaintiff brings this action individually and on behalf of the proposed class (the “Class”), for the benefit and protection of all current and former owners of the Second Generation ("Series 2") and Third Generation ("Series 3") models of the Apple Watch (collectively “Watch” or “Watches”) purchased in New Jersey.
Plaintiff brings this class action on behalf of herself and all other similarly situated persons to obtain damages, restitution, as well as injunctive and other relief.
Apple started selling the Watches in April 2015, when it introduced its "First Generation" Apple Watch. Since April 2015, Defendant has released additional "generations" of the Apple Watch: the Series 1 and Series 2 Watches; and the Series 3 Watch; and the Series 4 Watch.
The Watches all contain the same defect and/or flaw, specifically, swelling lithium-ion (or "li-on") batteries, which in turn cause Apple Watch screens to crack, shatter, or detach from the body of the Watch (the "Defect"), through no fault of the wearer, oftentimes only days or weeks after purchase. Upon information and belief, the Defect is caused by aging or otherwise faulty li-on batteries, or by defective internal components of the Watches that regulate temperature, electrical currents, charging, and other mechanisms that could affect the Watches’ li-on batteries.
Apple knew that the Watches were defective at or before the time it began selling them to the public. Furthermore, consumers complained to Apple about the Defect almost immediately after Apple released the Series 1, Series 2, and Series 3 Watches.
Apple began to sell its Series 1 and Series 2 Watches in September 2016. Very shortly thereafter, consumers who purchased the Series 1 and Series 2 Watches complained that the screens on their Series 1 and Series 2 Watches had cracked, shattered, or completely detached from the body of their Watches. These consumers took their defective Watches to Apple Stores, contacted Apple Support, and posted their complaints on the “Communities” forum on apple.com.
Apple has persistently denied any widespread issue with Series 1 or Series 2 Watches, but, in April 2017, Apple acknowledged a swelling battery defect in certain first-generation Watches and extended its Limited Warranty for qualifying first generation Watches from one year to three years. Similarly, in April 2018, Apple acknowledged a swelling battery defect in certain Series 2 Watches and extended its Limited Warranty for qualifying Series 2 Watches from one year to three years.
Apple started selling its Series 3 Watch in September 2017. Shortly thereafter, consumers who purchased the Series 3 Watch reported that the screens on their Watches were cracking, shattering, or detaching from the body of their Watches, and lodged their complaints about the Series 3 Watches with Apple in the manners described above.
Since 2015, Apple has sold millions of Watches with the Defect throughout the United States, and either knew, or should have known, that the Watches contain the Defect and are not fit for their intended purpose. Nonetheless, Apple has actively concealed and failed to disclose the Defect to Plaintiff and Class members prior to, at, or after the time of purchase.
The Defect also poses a significant safety hazard to consumers, as it has caused a number of putative Class members to suffer cuts and burns in connection with the screens cracking, shattering and/or detaching from the body of the Watches. Notwithstanding the safety issues with the Watches, Apple did not disclose the defect to consumers.
Further, Apple’s conduct, when confronted with the Defect, indicates that its internal policy is to deny the existence of the Defect, claim the Defect is the result of “accidental damage” caused by consumers, and then refuse to honor its Limited Warranty on those grounds. Consumers that are refused coverage under the Limited Warranty are forced to incur the significant expense of repairing or replacing their defective Watches.
Apple knew that purchasers of the Watches would reasonably expect the screens to function in a predictable and expected manner during normal use, and Plaintiff and other consumers have precisely that expectation. Apple was also aware that purchasers of the Watches would reasonably expect that they would not pose a safety risk, and Plaintiff and other consumers have that expectation. Further, Apple knew that purchasers of the Watches would reasonably expect that the Defect—when it manifested itself—would be covered under its Limited Warranty, and again, Plaintiff and other consumers did have that expectation.
Had Plaintiff and other Class members known about the Defect at the time of purchase, they would not have bought the Watches, or would have paid less for them.
As a result of the Defect in the Watches and monetary costs associated with repair, replacement, or lost use of the Watches, Plaintiff and Class members have suffered injury in fact, incurred ascertainable loss and damages, and have otherwise been harmed by Apple’s conduct.
This action is brought to remedy violations of New Jersey consumer protection law in connection with Apple’s misconduct, including its conscious effort to conceal material facts concerning the Defect during the distribution, marketing, sale and advertisement of the Watches, as well the consumer and warranty as a result of Apple’s conduct performed with respect to the Watches.
Plaintiff and the Class allege violations of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act N.J.S.A. § 56:8-1, et seq., ("CFA"), and breach of express and implied warranty as a result of Apple’s conduct."
For more details in this case, review the full Class Action lawsuit filings below provided to you courtesy of Patently Apple.
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