State Farm sues Apple over house fire allegedly caused by 'defective' iPhone

Posted:
in iPhone
U.S. insurance giant State Farm on Thursday filed a lawsuit against Apple alleging a "defective and unreasonably dangerous" iPhone 4S caused a house fire in Wisconsin in 2016.




Lodged with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, State Farm's suit names Xai Thao as a co-complainant who suffered more than $75,000 in damages related to the fire.

Details of the incident included in the complaint note Thao purchased an iPhone 4S in 2014. Whether that phone was distributed through an Apple store or an Apple authorized retailer is unknown.

On April 1, 2016, Thao's iPhone "failed," according to the filing, causing a fire at her home in New Richmond, a small suburban city sitting on the western outskirts of Wisconsin in St. Croix County. The town is located just a few miles east of Minneapolis, Minn.

According to State Farm, preliminary investigations of the alleged faulty device shows evidence of a "significant and localized heating event" near the battery, as well as remnants of internal shorting. The signs indicate that an internal failure caused the fire, the complaint reads.

Plaintiffs maintain that no other potential fire sources were present at the time, adding that a preliminary examination of the iPhone shows damage to the device's battery was not caused by a fire. The conclusion, therefore, is that the battery itself was the source of the blaze.

The complaint claims Thao received the iPhone in new condition and had not tampered with or changed the battery.

Thao had a State Farm property insurance policy in effect when the fire occurred, obliging State Farm to cover a portion of sustained damages. Thao also sustained out-of-pocket costs associated with the fire that were not covered by her insurance plan.

State Farm and Thao are leveling two counts against Apple, the first alleging that the iPhone 4S in question was defective when it reached Thao's hands. A second cause of action argues negligence on Apple's part for designing, manufacturing, and placing the device in circulation.

"As a direct and proximate result of Apple's negligence in the design, manufacture, and/or sale of the iPhone, Thao sustained damage to her personal property," the filing reads.

Complainants seek unspecified damages in their suit.

«13

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 57
    Good luck with that.
    zroger73ronnmacxpresstallest skiliosfangirl6001gregg thurmanMuntzwatto_cobrajahbladebshank
  • Reply 2 of 57
    In America, anyone can sue anyone. Ain't it great?
    iosfangirl6001gregg thurmanMuntzwatto_cobrabshank[Deleted User]clemynxGeorgeBMacnetmageredgeminipa
  • Reply 3 of 57
    applesauce007applesauce007 Posts: 1,603member
    State Farm will not get a penny and they shouldn't.
    zroger73ronnmacxpressSpamSandwichtallest skiliosfangirl6001gregg thurmanMuntzwatto_cobrabshank
  • Reply 4 of 57
    What do you want to bet they used a third party charger....? Idiots!
    SpamSandwichiosfangirl6001sergiozzoetmbgregg thurmanMuntzwatto_cobraleavingthebiggsandorbshank
  • Reply 5 of 57
    ronnronn Posts: 315member
    Apple should counter claim against both. I seriously doubt a defective phone would take nearly two years to cause damage. In all likelihood she damaged the phone and has to suffer the consequences.
    iosfangirl6001gregg thurmanMuntzwatto_cobrabshankradarthekatretrogustoredgeminipajony0
  • Reply 6 of 57
    I don't understand how State Farm feels they are due money.  What if there had been an electrical short in the house that wasn't the homeowner's fault, would they sue the electrician that installed the wiring?  How about a chimney fire? Go after the last chimney sweep to have cleaned the chimney?  And what about suing the fire department for not having put out the fire before more damage had been done?
    StrangeDaysrobjnzoetmbgregg thurmanMuntzwatto_cobraleavingthebiggpscooter63radarthekatmacky the macky
  • Reply 7 of 57
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,786member
    Sounds to me like State Farm just doesn't want to pay for the damages to the house. I mean they most likely did pay their client the money, but they want to be reimbursed from Apple.

    I'm sorry a device, or in this case, an iPhone caused someone to lose their house and thats very unfortunate, but isn't that why we have insurance? You know, in case shit happens?

    State Farm cannot really claim that there are a large amount of iPhone 4s phones out there with faulty batteries. I'd like to know how State Farm can prove Apple knowingly sold/provided this person a faulty phone on purpose.
    edited July 2017 iosfangirl6001gregg thurmanMuntzwatto_cobraleavingthebiggericthehalfbeeradarthekattzm41[Deleted User]netmage
  • Reply 8 of 57
    steven n.steven n. Posts: 1,108member
    The phone is between 6 to 3 years old. It would be hard to show no damage happened to the phone in that time. Easier when it happens days, weeks or a few months from delivery. 
    gregg thurmanMuntzwatto_cobraleavingthebiggchiapscooter63radarthekatredgeminipajony0
  • Reply 9 of 57
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,836member
    I don't understand how State Farm feels they are due money.  What if there had been an electrical short in the house that wasn't the homeowner's fault, would they sue the electrician that installed the wiring?  How about a chimney fire? Go after the last chimney sweep to have cleaned the chimney?  And what about suing the fire department for not having put out the fire before more damage had been done?
    As your lawyer will eventually advise you, always sue the party that has the most money and is in a position to settle to avoid bad publicity.
    iosfangirl6001Muntzwatto_cobrapscooter63fotoformattzm41[Deleted User]GeorgeBMacnetmageredgeminipa
  • Reply 10 of 57
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    As your lawyer will eventually advise you, always sue the party that has the most money and is in a position to settle to avoid bad publicity.
    "But but but but but but settling equals an admission of guilt!"
    SpamSandwichMuntzwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 57
    To me this does not make sense.  To avoid a $75K claim, they sue Apple?  This is gonna be a money loser for sure.  I would have my questions about the "new" ness of the 4S, too, in 2014, but trust me on this, we are never going to get to the facts of this one.  Waaay too minor.  Next?
    edited July 2017 Muntzwatto_cobranetmage
  • Reply 12 of 57
    ipilyaipilya Posts: 186member
    what I don't understand... how did he buy it "new" if it was released in 2011.... that is a 3 year difference from when he bought it. Wasn't this phone already out of circulation?
    Muntzwatto_cobraleavingthebigg
  • Reply 13 of 57
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,782member
    How’s about Apple sue State Farm for slander and defamation. 
    Muntzwatto_cobracoolfactormagman1979palomine
  • Reply 14 of 57
    JohnDeeJohnDee Posts: 28member
    If the iPHONE was bought in 2014 then it's quite possible that in 2016 the battery was replaced. Further, it would be quite possible that the replacement was done by a non-Apple approved person with non-Apple parts.
    watto_cobramagman1979hammeroftruth
  • Reply 15 of 57
    macxpress said:
    Sounds to me like State Farm just doesn't want to pay for the damages to the house. I mean they most likely did pay their client the money, but they want to be reimbursed from Apple.

    I'm sorry a device, or in this case, an iPhone caused someone to lose their house and thats very unfortunate, but isn't that why we have insurance? You know, in case shit happens?

    State Farm cannot really claim that there are a large amount of iPhone 4s phones out there with faulty batteries. I'd like to know how State Farm can prove Apple knowingly sold/provided this person a faulty phone on purpose.
    I don't understand how State Farm feels they are due money.  What if there had been an electrical short in the house that wasn't the homeowner's fault, would they sue the electrician that installed the wiring?  How about a chimney fire? Go after the last chimney sweep to have cleaned the chimney?  And what about suing the fire department for not having put out the fire before more damage had been done?

    This suit is absurd.
    even on the off chance of a "defective" device working issue free 2 to 7 years after purchase and well after Apple care or warranty would have expired State Farm is in no way entitled a single cent beyond miss Thao's deductible and premiums that were presumably paid.


    State Farm is an insurance company and insurance is purchased for scenarios like this


    the only court outcomes should be State Farm being forced into reimbursement to Ms Thao for anything they've yet to cover 


    from Apple's perspective at the very most albeit it quite unlikely I would consider settling for nothing more than 1 FREE Apple Product or iPhone Make and model of choice and maybe throw in free Apple Care+

    but Apple darn sure shouldn't be obligated for anything beyond that cost or monetary wise


    so much for "Like A Good Neighbor State Farm is there" such a sham
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 57
    JohnDeeJohnDee Posts: 28member
    Any insurance company has the right - and often does - to get reimbursed for their claims paid, by suing a possible third party who may have been "responsible" for their loss.
    gatorguypscooter63tokyojimu
  • Reply 17 of 57
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,657member
    Not buying it. I'm sure the iPhone was in perfect condition. Plus where did he get the iPhone? eBay? Shady Third party? 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 57
    maltzmaltz Posts: 127member
    This suit is absurd.
    even on the off chance of a "defective" device working issue free 2 to 7 years after purchase and well after Apple care or warranty would have expired State Farm is in no way entitled a single cent beyond miss Thao's deductible and premiums that were presumably paid.


    State Farm is an insurance company and insurance is purchased for scenarios like this


    the only court outcomes should be State Farm being forced into reimbursement to Ms Thao for anything they've yet to cover 


    from Apple's perspective at the very most albeit it quite unlikely I would consider settling for nothing more than 1 FREE Apple Product or iPhone Make and model of choice and maybe throw in free Apple Care+

    but Apple darn sure shouldn't be obligated for anything beyond that cost or monetary wise


    so much for "Like A Good Neighbor State Farm is there" such a sham

    You seem to misunderstand how insurance works.  State Farm covers the fire claim, but they will always try to be reimbursed from the "responsible" party, even if that means suing them.  For the sake of argument, let's say that Apple is indeed responsible.  In such a scenario, State Farm pays the homeowner, then sues Apple, and assuming State Farm wins, then Apple's insurance pays State Farm.

    It's like when you're involved in a car accident that wasn't your fault.  Your insurance doesn't pay for your damages when it's not your fault - the insurance of the person responsible for the accident does.  In this case, the person responsible for the fire (i.e., Apple) ultimately pays, or at least their insurance.  (Again, for the sake of argument.  The best State Farm can hope for here is a settlement, but I'd be surprised if they even get that.)
    gatorguytokyojimunetmageargonaut
  • Reply 19 of 57
    smalmsmalm Posts: 655member
    ipilya said:
    what I don't understand... how did he buy it "new" if it was released in 2011.... that is a 3 year difference from when he bought it. Wasn't this phone already out of circulation?
    The iPhone 4s was discontinued 2014-09-09.
    And the article doesn't tell when in 2014 the iPhone was purchased and when in 2016 it cought fire.
    ronnleavingthebiggretrogustonetmage
  • Reply 20 of 57
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,836member
    To me this does not make sense.  To avoid a $75K claim, they sue Apple?  This is gonna be a money loser for sure.  I would have my questions about the "new" ness of the 4S, too, in 2014, but trust me on this, we are never going to get to the facts of this one.  Waaay too minor.  Next?
    They're probably testing the legal waters before launching a salvo of lawsuits against Apple.
Sign In or Register to comment.