Allegedly faulty iPhone 4 power button target of new class action lawsuit against Apple

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
A Florida woman last week lodged a class action lawsuit complaint against Apple reagrding an issue with the iPhone 4's power button, saying the company continued sales of the handset despite knowing of the problem.

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


Filed with the U.S. Disctrict Court for the Northern District of California, the suit leveled by Debra Hilton claims an inherent design flaw in the iPhone 4 causes the unit's power button to fail shortly after the one year warranty expires. Further, Apple supposedly knew of the failing component, yet did nothing to resolve the issue, and instead touted the device as "an innovative technological marvel."

According to the court document, first discovered by GigaOm, the plaintiff alleges the flex cable dedicated to power button operation slowly deteriorates, making it increasingly difficult to press. After a certain number of actuations, the component completely fails, rendering much of the iPhone 4 useless.

The complaint cites posts from Apple's own Support Community, saying "hundreds" of customers complained of the problem.

In two counts, the suit leverages the RICO act against Apple's associated-in-fact enterprise with AT&T. Supposed racketeering charges are also leveled, and cite sent correspondence to the wireless carrier touting the benefits of the iPhone 4 while not including information about the alleged power button defect. With the promotional materials, Apple purportedly committed wire and mail fraud, which could constitute a pattern of racketeering.

Hilton is seeking $5 million in damages, with the possibility of trebling, for any iPhone 4 owner who purchased their device from Apple or AT&T, lawyer fees and a stoppage of sales for defective units.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 52
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,248member


    "I manhandle my possessions. I broke my Power button. I demand a replacement for free for breaking both my possession and my warranty."

  • Reply 2 of 52
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,347member


    BREAKING!: Push buttons wear out!


     


    This case should be tossed and the plaintiff should be fined for filing a frivolous lawsuit.

  • Reply 3 of 52
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,128member
    Jeez, here we go again. How's about we call this one "PowerGate"??

    Really, we need to place accountability not only to the person filing the lawsuit, but the the dumb$$ attorney thinking he has a case.

    So out of the untold millions of iPhone4's sold globally, a "few hundred" warrants a lawsuit? Unfrickenbelievable.
  • Reply 4 of 52
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,951member
    "I manhandle my possessions. I broke my Power button. I demand a replacement for free for breaking both my possession and my warranty."

    "Impossible your honor, my client being a 'woman' could not have possibly 'manhandled' anything"
  • Reply 5 of 52
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,128member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post





    "Impossible your honor, my client being a 'woman' could not have possibly 'manhandled' anything"




    Surely, a woman manhandling anything is ripe for filing a harassment lawsuit!

  • Reply 6 of 52
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,347member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post





    "Impossible your honor, my client being a 'woman' could not have possibly 'manhandled' anything"


     


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QbXXWIIXjo

  • Reply 7 of 52
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member
    Florida, huh?

    Need to top up the retirement fund, huh?
  • Reply 8 of 52
    brutus009brutus009 Posts: 356member


    If it fails after the warranty then I fail to see how it is a defect.


     


    A company that knows when components will fail and sets their warranty accordingly has done their homework.

  • Reply 9 of 52
    jollypauljollypaul Posts: 328member


    Slowly deteriorates? Yes, welcome to the world of physics. It is rough and unforgiving, but if it makes you feel better, we are all in it together. Oh! The humanity!

  • Reply 10 of 52
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,951member
  • Reply 11 of 52
    johnnyb0731johnnyb0731 Posts: 326member


    I must have gotten lucky having used mine for 2 years and 4 or 5 months

  • Reply 12 of 52
    damn_its_hotdamn_its_hot Posts: 1,173member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    The complaint cites posts from Apple's own Support Community, saying "hundreds" of customers complained of the problem.



    In two counts, the suit leverages the RICO act against Apple's associated-in-fact enterprise with AT&T. Supposed racketeering charges are also leveled, and cite sent correspondence to the wireless carrier touting the benefits of the iPhone 4 while not including information about the alleged power button defect. With the promotional materials, Apple purportedly committed wire and mail fraud, which could constitute a pattern of racketeering.



    Hilton is seeking $5 million in damages, with the possibility of trebling, for any iPhone 4 owner who purchased their device from Apple or AT&T, lawyer fees and a stoppage of sales for defective units.

     


     


    This is beyond fricking belief. RICO? How about bozo! This is the first I have heard of this. I realize that doesn't mean it is not a problem. It could be, but I think if Apple new about this obsolescence because a failure of the power button there would have been much more news. All the same I have a hard time thinking Apple wouldn't have fixed an issue like this that would have cost so little to fix. I just don't see a conspiracy here.


     


    Even if it was 100's of iPhones out of the more than 100 million iPhone 4s sold we are talking way less than a ten-thousandth of a percent failure rate. I would say that is an acceptable failure rate for most products. Even if they knew about this failure after one year I don't think she would have a case--certainly not one that merits $5 million in damages much less triple damages. This suit is ridiculous and should be thrown out of court.

  • Reply 13 of 52
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,091member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    "I manhandle my possessions. I broke my Power button. I demand a replacement for free for breaking both my possession and my warranty."



     


    Just keep in mind that all manufacturers get sued for stuff like this, including Samsung, HTC, Blackberry, GE, Whirlpool, Maytag, Sony, etc. We only hear about it if it concerns Apple. And we already know the result, a settlement admitting no liability, a $5 coupon, and a few million for the lawyers. Lather, rinse, repeat.


     


    This stuff is no longer news. It's the cost of doing business.

  • Reply 14 of 52
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,248member


    Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

    And we already know the result, a settlement admitting no liability, a $5 coupon, and a few million for the lawyers. Lather, rinse, repeat.


     


    Should be jail time for the people bringing it forward and disbarment for the lawyers.

  • Reply 15 of 52
    poochpooch Posts: 768member
    the power button on my 4 failed after about eight months. it got to the point where it barely popped back out after i pressed it, and that was a slow progression over a couple months. but i took it to apple and they replaced the phone and it's worked fine ever since.

    hardly worth the pain and suffering of dealing with an attorney to file this type of class action suit; do attorneys go looking for someone who has experienced the type of problem that they, the attorney, want to sue over?
  • Reply 16 of 52
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,951member
  • Reply 17 of 52
    miafin421miafin421 Posts: 17member


    So pathetic that our courts allow individuals (and their Attorney's) to make mockery of the court system (it this lawsuit gets in).  This is a complete waste of time and complete greed on her part (5MM really?) - greed, greed, greed.

  • Reply 18 of 52
    paulmjohnsonpaulmjohnson Posts: 1,380member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    "I manhandle my possessions. I broke my Power button. I demand a replacement for free for breaking both my possession and my warranty."



     


    That's rather a simplistic argument.


     


    I manhandled my iPhone 4 and the power button broke, similarly, just after the warranty expired.  I do not believe I broke it, mostly because I hardly ever use the power button.


     


    I don't however believe I am entitled to anything from Apple - the warranty was one year, and I consider I was unlucky.  If it happens again on my iPhone 5, I'll probably switch to a different phone manufacturer, as is my right as a consumer.


     


    Lets not pretend though that this woman somehow deserved this happening to her.  There was something wrong with that button.  Were it not for the fact that my phones are given to me for free by my company, I'd be annoyed by something so simple breaking so soon after purchase.

  • Reply 19 of 52
    drblankdrblank Posts: 3,383member
    $5 Million dollar settlement? Dream on lady. This problem is NOT worth $5 Million dollar settlement. Now THIS is a frivolous lawsuit.
  • Reply 20 of 52
    analogjackanalogjack Posts: 1,036member


    Forget this what about the disgraceful G5 17" imac screen scam by Apple. I had two G5's and one day a pink vertical line sometimes changing to blue occasionally appeared then disappeared. Often popping up in different spots. Long story short this started on both G5's and gradually increased to a plethora of permanent lines over a two year period until it was virtually unusable.


     


    This is well outside the warranty. But in looking for clues to this behaviour I discover that there are hundreds of people similarly confused over the years. By the time I realised that this is a manufacturing fault, like everyone else, one just moves on. I didn't really want to upgrade when I did the G5's were perfectly adequate for what I wanted to do.


     


    Point is that only 17" G5's were affected, not other monitors, other lcd's even other 20" G5's but hundreds (if one extrapolates the many posts about this over the years, probably thousands) of 17" G5's. 


     


    Why no class action here? I guess because there's no power base of G5 17" users. Divide and conquer. 

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