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Judge tosses lawsuit targeting allegedly faulty iPhone 4 power button

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
A U.S. district court judge on Wednesday threw out a case leveled by two iPhone owners who claimed the allegedly "wiggly" power buttons of some iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S handsets are hazards to users.

iPhone 4 Power Button
iPhone 4 power button flex cable. | Source: iFixit


According to court minutes, U.S. District Judge Gary Feess denied the request by Ross Missaghi and Charles Thompson to bring Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) claims against Apple and AT&T over an allegedly faulty iPhone power button design, reports GigaOm.

In their complaint, first filed in February, the plaintiffs alleged Apple knew that a power button design flaw existed in the iPhone 4 and 4S, but did nothing to rectify the situation.

A number of scenarios were cited that looked to prove possible harm from the purported defect, which apparently does not allow a user to turn off their phone. One of the more quizzical allegations involved taking a faulty iPhone on a plane.

From the dismissal:

Thus, every time [Plaintiffs] or another owner of a defective iPhone 4 or iPhone 4s brings the device on an airplane, unless the individual has thought ahead and gone through the inconvenience and time required to allow the battery to drain, the defect causes potential interference with ?communications, navigation, flight control, and electronic equipment? in the airplane. The defect thus presents a safety hazard not only to the owner, but to everyone else on the airplane, as well as potentially people on the ground.


Judge Feess ultimately dismissed the claim, saying the plaintiffs failed to prove a breach of warranty and RICO.

The court will allow one final opportunity at an amended pleading of liability, which must be filed by Sept. 13.

A nearly identical case was lodged against Apple in May claiming much the same as the now tossed suit. In that case, the plaintiff argued that the flex cable mechanism attached to the power button would become inoperable after extended use, usually after Apple's one-year warranty had expired.

The second case, which also looks to bring a class action against Apple, is still in court.

post #2 of 32

Settings>Airplane Mode

Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
Reply
Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
Reply
post #3 of 32
What a stupid lawsuit. My Daughter owns my iPhone 4 that is now 4 years old, and the power button is still going strong, and my iPhone 4S now 2 years old has no issues either.
post #4 of 32
Yeah, I have a 1 1/2 year old Power Button on an iPhone 4 that works just fine. I know one person that it didn't work, but I told him to bring it back to Apple since it was before the warranty was up.

A lot of people don't bring their device into Apple soon enough, that happens too.

Either way, they were trying to sue thinking the power button was a hazard, which it isn't.
post #5 of 32
We need to change the laws to force folks to pay the defendant's lawyer and any filing fees for all lawsuits. They'll change their minds about filing stupid suits like this.
post #6 of 32
I got my iPhone 4 right after launch and you know what it is still going strong. I did have a problem on my iPad but a trip to the Apple store had the whole machine swapped out in a few moments. The home button might not be as reliable as Apple wants but it is certainly not defective.
post #7 of 32

Sounds like they are just upset and not sure how to not be upset anymore.  Glad it was thrown out.

post #8 of 32
No issues with my 4S + I don't shut it off when flying (airplane mode). Heck I rarely shut it off.
post #9 of 32

I think the plaintiff themselves pose more harm to the world due to the very real possibility of them breeding. A truly frightening scenario.

post #10 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mechanic View Post

What a stupid lawsuit. My Daughter owns my iPhone 4 that is now 4 years old, and the power button is still going strong, and my iPhone 4S now 2 years old has no issues either.

 

I'd keep hold of that 4 year old  iPhone 4.  Such early prototypes are hugely valuable.

post #11 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikhailT View Post

We need to change the laws to force folks to pay the defendant's lawyer and any filing fees for all lawsuits. They'll change their minds about filing stupid suits like this.

I agree. But I don't think many politicians have the guts to bring this up, since it looks like it is designed to prevent or deny the poor the ability to sue
post #12 of 32
This is stupidity, we have 3 1/2 year old and it is better than any galaxy(by the way it looks retarded and a battery hog)
post #13 of 32

As someone who had to replace two iPhone 4's for this very flaw, I can attest to it's existence. That said, at worst it was annoying and inconvenient, and attempting to label it as hazardous for the reasons they describe is ridiculous. That was just some ambulance chasing lawyer's attempt at padding the lawsuit to maximize on any potential award.

 

My own experiences, plus those of the many others who discuss it in the Apple forums, have me convinced that this was in fact a design flaw that Apple was aware of, and it would have been nice to see them own up to it instead of attempt to blame me for "dropping the phone" both times the power button failed on me.

post #14 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curtis Hannah View Post

This is stupidity, we have 3 1/2 year old and it is better than any galaxy(by the way it looks retarded and a battery hog)

 

What does anything about this story have to do with any other phone?

post #15 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by kevt View Post

I'd keep hold of that 4 year old  iPhone 4.  Such early prototypes are hugely valuable.
Yep, a year before it came out.
post #16 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by androidforme View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cash907 View Post

As someone who had to replace two iPhone 4's for this very flaw, I can attest to it's existence. That said, at worst it was annoying and inconvenient, and attempting to label it as hazardous for the reasons they describe is ridiculous. That was just some ambulance chasing lawyer's attempt at padding the lawsuit to maximize on any potential award.

My own experiences, plus those of the many others who discuss it in the Apple forums, have me convinced that this was in fact a design flaw that Apple was aware of, and it would have been nice to see them own up to it instead of attempt to blame me for "dropping the phone" both times the power button failed on me.
I agree.
May I add there are other faults on iPhones that are conveniently swept under the carpet by many on this site.
Sites like AI should be impartial and report these as they can be dangerous to users.

Maybe if people did not make ridiculous claims like "dangerous to users" people would be more open to discussing every tiny little issue that comes out.
post #17 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by androidforme View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cash907 View Post

As someone who had to replace two iPhone 4's for this very flaw, I can attest to it's existence. That said, at worst it was annoying and inconvenient, and attempting to label it as hazardous for the reasons they describe is ridiculous. That was just some ambulance chasing lawyer's attempt at padding the lawsuit to maximize on any potential award.

My own experiences, plus those of the many others who discuss it in the Apple forums, have me convinced that this was in fact a design flaw that Apple was aware of, and it would have been nice to see them own up to it instead of attempt to blame me for "dropping the phone" both times the power button failed on me.
I agree.
May I add there are other faults on iPhones that are conveniently swept under the carpet by many on this site.
Sites like AI should be impartial and report these as they can be dangerous to users.

 

It would be negligent of you not to share some of these "dangers" with us ignorant Apple users. We might hurt ourselves.

post #18 of 32
I love the airplane bit given all the suits to nix that law on the grounds that there is no proof of a hazard under scientific testing etc

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

Reply

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

Reply
post #19 of 32
The judge should also have added the death penalty to the plaintiff's lawyers.
post #20 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikhailT View Post

We need to change the laws to force folks to pay the defendant's lawyer and any filing fees for all lawsuits. They'll change their minds about filing stupid suits like this.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by starbird73 View Post


I agree. But I don't think many politicians have the guts to bring this up, since it looks like it is designed to prevent or deny the poor the ability to sue

 

It is not about politicians having guts.

 

Making the plaintiff pay the defendants legal fees when the plaintiff loses a lawsuit will not happen in the U.S.

 

The reason is because Lawyers stand to lose a huge amount of money if such a law was enacted in the U.S.

 

Lawyers make up the most powerful special interest group in the U.S. by far.  And many politicians also happen to be lawyers.  

 

They will oppose any change to the law since it directly reduces their income.

post #21 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikhailT View Post

We need to change the laws to force folks to pay the defendant's lawyer and any filing fees for all lawsuits. They'll change their minds about filing stupid suits like this.

I say bring back public spankings. That would be much more fun. 

When I find time to rewrite the laws of Physics, there'll Finally be some changes made round here!

I am not crazy! Three out of five court appointed psychiatrists said so.

Reply

When I find time to rewrite the laws of Physics, there'll Finally be some changes made round here!

I am not crazy! Three out of five court appointed psychiatrists said so.

Reply
post #22 of 32
um, my phone locks itself and 'powers off' after two minutes of inactivity with or without the power button. before I get on an airplane, I switch it to 'airplane mode'. Sans hazard!

and, if you can't use the power button to shut off the phone, it's BROKEN and needs to be taken in for service. If you get on an airplane knowing that your'e carrying a broken and potentially hazardous piece of electronics equipment, then it's YOUR fault, not the manufacturer's.

I once read a story (thank you Darwin Awards) about a man who DROPPED his microwave oven on the pavement while moving house. He kept using it, even though he'd complained to friends that since the move it sometimes smoked and smelled like burning wires when he used it. Didn't stop him though. So when he was electrocuted while using it one day, it wasn't too surprising. The worse part is, his family, even knowing the whole story, filed suit anyway, claiming the unit had a "dangerous design flaw". They lost.

This one somehow doesn't feel a lot different, except that thankfully no-one had to get hurt. I do wonder, how much do you suppose this lawsuit cost the taxpayers?
post #23 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by androidforme View Post


I agree.
May I add there are other faults on iPhones that are conveniently swept under the carpet by many on this site.
Sites like AI should be impartial and report these as they can be dangerous to users.

There are several "flaws" on the iphone, like every phone and product. It is designed by humans. Dangerous? that 3.7 volts and low amps are dangerous stuff huh? Never killed me to use an iphone. Just an Android lover huh? Thats fine, there are a few nice phones with the OS; however, they don't wipe the iphone except in a few areas but the package just isn't there.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by androidforme View Post


Not ridiculous claims at all. The Internet is full of them, simply research.

Dude, when you make 100 million of these things a year, of course you will see thousands of issues on the internet, like ANY product. Every product I have EVER researched.

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by androidforme View Post


Just hold it the right way and you should be fine.

My iPhone 4 has the best reception of any phone I owned up until that point, even when gripped in any way. 

post #24 of 32

After 5+ years, the power button on my 1st gen. iPhone stopped working. The only way it turns off now is if the battery drains. I wish there was a soft-shutdown option on iOS, where I can shut the phone from Settings.

 

Still, that is a 5+ year old phone. None of the other iPhones I have are problematic with respect to the power button.

post #25 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by BestKeptSecret View Post

After 5+ years, the power button on my 1st gen. iPhone stopped working. The only way it turns off now is if the battery drains. I wish there was a soft-shutdown option on iOS, where I can shut the phone from Settings.

 

Still, that is a 5+ year old phone. None of the other iPhones I have are problematic with respect to the power button.


I'm sorry, but this gave me a bit of a chuckle.

 

In your case, if there would have been a soft-shutdown, how would you turn the damn thing on again? :)

post #26 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonteponte View Post


I'm sorry, but this gave me a bit of a chuckle.

 

In your case, if there would have been a soft-shutdown, how would you turn the damn thing on again? :)

 

Simply connect it to the power I guess!

post #27 of 32
I have a fully functional iPhone 1/2G (circa 2007!) whose only slight sign of age, other than a few minor scratches and dings on the aluminum case is that the top power button does have to be depressed fairly hard, but it probably just needs some switch cleaner.
post #28 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by androidforme View Post

Not ridiculous claims at all. The Internet is full of them, simply research.

Dangerous to users? That is hyperbola. Yes there are tales of people using 3rd party chargers that have died. There are stories of phones from the iPhone to the Galaxy S series to HTC catching fire to blowing up but these are very very rare and isolated events of dubious heritage.

Dangerous to users is a laughing phrase in this case.
post #29 of 32
and you wonder why people want to kill all the lawyers ...
post #30 of 32

This sounds terrible if true, but (fortunately?) my iPhone 4 power button is just fine after 2 yrs 8 mths.

Also I haven't heard locally of any power button problems.

 

Of course anything can fail, perhaps they should just get their power buttons repaired

  and give up trying to get Apple to make them rich !
 

post #31 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mechanic View Post

What a stupid lawsuit. My Daughter owns my iPhone 4 that is now 4 years old, and the power button is still going strong, and my iPhone 4S now 2 years old has no issues either.

That doesn't represent many data points. It's a mass market item, so some variation is to be expected. I have no opinion whether or not there is a power button issue.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kevt View Post

 

I'd keep hold of that 4 year old  iPhone 4.  Such early prototypes are hugely valuable.

How so? Perhaps if its serial suggested it as one of the first 100 produced and it's still both aesthetically pleasing and working one or two decades from now. Otherwise I don't agree. Collectors typically want something pristine, working, and as unique as possible.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikhailT View Post

We need to change the laws to force folks to pay the defendant's lawyer and any filing fees for all lawsuits. They'll change their minds about filing stupid suits like this.


It would backfire in that companies could intentionally use expensive lawyers as a deterrent. 

post #32 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wovel View Post

Maybe if people did not make ridiculous claims like "dangerous to users" people would be more open to discussing every tiny little issue that comes out.

Have you ever noticed that, with all new irons sold in the US, the instructions state "remove clothing from body before applying iron to clothes"?

Precisely because of lawyers like the one who filed this case.
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