Apartment & insurance firm sue Apple over lethal iPad fire

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in iPad
A New Jersey apartment complex and its insurance company are together suing Apple to recover payouts for a Feb. 22, 2017 iPad fire, which killed a tenant of the building, Bradley Ireland.

iPad Pro battery


"The subject tablet was unreasonably dangerous and unsafe for its intended purpose by reasons of defects in its design and/or its manufacture and/or a lack of adequate warnings," part of the court complaint reads. Apple is allegedly responsible for damages because it knew -- or should have known -- that the iPad's lithium battery was an "ultrahazardous mechanism capable of causing damage, even when reasonably used."

The plaintiffs, Union Management and its subrogating insurance company, Greater New York Mutual Insurance Company, filed the case June 20 through the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

The pair are pursuing a jury trial, and compensation in the form of "damages for all monies paid by Greater New York Mutual Insurance to Union Management," including the insurance deductible, legal fees, and related interest.

In February this year Ireland's son and daughter launched their own civil suit against Apple, likewise blaming the iPad's battery. A difference in that case is that in addition to charging liability, Ireland's family also claimed that he "experienced significant pain and suffering" before his burns killed him.

Fires in lithium-powered mobile devices are not a new phenomena, but at the same time it's relatively rare for an Apple device to ship with a faulty battery. Lawsuits blaming Apple for fires do occasionally surface, but this may be inevitable given the vast number of products Apple ships.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 33
    bigtdsbigtds Posts: 109member
    This is SB. The insurance company is happy to take your money on a regular basis but when it comes time to pay out in a few instances, they look for someone to recoup their losses. I hope Apple fights this. At some point you have to stop this nonsense.
    AppleExposedlongpathmac_dogradarthekatnetmage
  • Reply 2 of 33
    tzterritzterri Posts: 99member
    I drive a hybrid. If my car explodes in an accident do I sue the gas companies or the maker of the giant lithium battery in it? Really wondering how they could figure out it was the iPad that caused the fire? Bet it was plugged into a 3rd party charger or was somehow damaged.
    longpath
  • Reply 3 of 33
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,186member
    tzterri said:
    I drive a hybrid. If my car explodes in an accident do I sue the gas companies or the maker of the giant lithium battery in it? Really wondering how they could figure out it was the iPad that caused the fire? Bet it was plugged into a 3rd party charger or was somehow damaged.
    1) If there's a fault with the product you certain should. It's not even speculative to say that companies run the numbers to see if it's in their favor financially to recall a product.



    2) While it's certainly possible that a battery could catch fire because it's faulty I do agree that it's statically more likely that there was a 3rd-party PSU in the mix.
    longpath
  • Reply 4 of 33
    hentaiboyhentaiboy Posts: 989member
    tzterri said:
    Bet it was plugged into a 3rd party charger
    Ah yes that tired excuse. Perhaps the owner was also holding it wrong. 
    chemengin1
  • Reply 5 of 33
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,186member
    hentaiboy said:
    tzterri said:
    Bet it was plugged into a 3rd party charger
    Ah yes that tired excuse. Perhaps the owner was also holding it wrong. 
    How is it a "tired excuse" when there are countless knockoffs without proper shielding on the market, others that are cheap fire hazards, countless articles about spotting fakes, Apple having issued recalls on PSUs in the past, and even a support page from Apple for spotting fakes? Are all those deaths "fake news"?
    edited June 24 longpathroundaboutnowradarthekatStrangeDaysnetmage
  • Reply 6 of 33
    jimh2jimh2 Posts: 160member
    They will never win.
    zeus423
  • Reply 7 of 33
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,911member
    bigtds said:
    This is SB. The insurance company is happy to take your money on a regular basis but when it comes time to pay out in a few instances, they look for someone to recoup their losses. I hope Apple fights this. At some point you have to stop this nonsense.
    Not really. Insurance companies should and do try to recover the money when their insured is not at fault. Think about simple auto insurance claims. If you're in a fender bender, your insurance company pays for your repairs right away, as they should. However, if you were not at fault, they absolutely should be going after the other driver's insurance company to recoup the money. And if the other driver is deemed 100% at fault, you'll get your deductible back too.
    elijahgchemengin1
  • Reply 8 of 33
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,186member
    mike1 said:
    bigtds said:
    This is SB. The insurance company is happy to take your money on a regular basis but when it comes time to pay out in a few instances, they look for someone to recoup their losses. I hope Apple fights this. At some point you have to stop this nonsense.
    Not really. Insurance companies should and do try to recover the money when their insured is not at fault. Think about simple auto insurance claims. If you're in a fender bender, your insurance company pays for your repairs right away, as they should. However, if you were not at fault, they absolutely should be going after the other driver's insurance company to recoup the money. And if the other driver is deemed 100% at fault, you'll get your deductible back too.
    if they didn't do this costs would be much higher, and that's before you include the additional costs to the customer for not holding parties responsible for their faults.
  • Reply 9 of 33
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,162member
    jimh2 said:
    They will never win.
    Sure they will. This is America where ambulance chasers advertise on TV all day long. “If we don’t win, you don’t pay” is the pitch. 
  • Reply 10 of 33
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,675member
    hentaiboy said:
    tzterri said:
    Bet it was plugged into a 3rd party charger
    Ah yes that tired excuse. Perhaps the owner was also holding it wrong. 
    I see what you did there... trying to defend a knockoff industry eh?

    I have yet to see a bonafide, proven case of an Apple battery exploding using an OEM CHARGER.  I lost track of the number of outlandish claims against Apple, only to be thrown out after it was discovered the owner went the cheap route to save a few bucks and purchased a Chinese-garbage knockoff charger for $2 instead of buying a real one for $20-$30.  

    Care to troll again?
    Solimacxpressmwhitejbdragonronndewmezeus423macplusplus
  • Reply 11 of 33
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,504member

    So many questions.

    Did the owner of the iPad leave it charging on an insulating surface, such as a blanket?
    Where they using a non-certified charger?
    Was the wiring in the building old?
    Was the charger fully plugged into the outlet? Sparks can be caused by a partial insertion.

    The wording of the claim is really unfortunate. I don't believe Apple is at fault in any way. Their designs and warnings are very thorough.

    netmage
  • Reply 12 of 33
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,709member
    Bullsh*t lawsuit. Was the iPad brand new? Did the user abuse it, sleep on it, smother it with a blanket or pillow, or use it as a doorstop? Was there a third party or unlicensed charging plug and /or cable?
  • Reply 13 of 33
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,309member
    Betting it was a third party charger.
  • Reply 14 of 33
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,860member
    bigtds said:
    This is SB. The insurance company is happy to take your money on a regular basis but when it comes time to pay out in a few instances, they look for someone to recoup their losses. I hope Apple fights this. At some point you have to stop this nonsense.
    What nonsense?   If you build something you are responsible and frankly it doesn’t matter what it is.    This is why any respectable business carries insurance.  It is also why I don’t build things for other people, without the protection of a corporation and a good insurance plan you end up paying.  

    I realize there are a lot of bad examples but there are also legitimate claims.    In this case I can’t imagine Apple winning.  They would have to show third party damage to the battery.  
  • Reply 15 of 33
    matrix077matrix077 Posts: 728member
    hentaiboy said:
    tzterri said:
    Bet it was plugged into a 3rd party charger
    Ah yes that tired excuse. Perhaps the owner was also holding it wrong. 
    I don’t think you understand the meaning of “excuse”.
    Solinetmage
  • Reply 16 of 33
    BombdoeBombdoe Posts: 12member
    " or should have known — that the iPad's lithium battery was an "ultrahazardous mechanism capable of causing damage, even when reasonably used."

     I take it that Apple, and all other device manufacturers, should not use lithium batteries. Well that's going to be a tad inconvenient for the entire industry and consumers. Fact is the company does know a lithium battery is hazardous and have factored that into the design to ensure it can be used safely when used properly.
    edited June 24 radarthekatnetmage
  • Reply 17 of 33
    sflocal said:
    hentaiboy said:
    tzterri said:
    Bet it was plugged into a 3rd party charger
    Ah yes that tired excuse. Perhaps the owner was also holding it wrong. 
    I see what you did there... trying to defend a knockoff industry eh?

    I have yet to see a bonafide, proven case of an Apple battery exploding using an OEM CHARGER.  I lost track of the number of outlandish claims against Apple, only to be thrown out after it was discovered the owner went the cheap route to save a few bucks and purchased a Chinese-garbage knockoff charger for $2 instead of buying a real one for $20-$30.  

    Care to troll again?
    Even the best companies can make a defective unit here and there. I mean 1.3. Billion iOS devices in the world, not  surprising if a few are bad.  If the battery is indeed the fault of the fire, then Apple should pay. If I make a consumer product and it causes a house to burn down due to recklessness on my part, I should be liable. Most of the lawsuits I read here on AI are horse s——. But that doesn’t mean an excellent company is above the consumer protection laws. And I won’t knee-jerkishly come to their defense because I’m an Apple fanboy.
  • Reply 18 of 33
    chasmchasm Posts: 1,643member
    It is certainly within the realm of possibility that this particular iPad and/or its OEM charger were entirely at fault and thus Apple is liable. I would bet serious money that there is a non-zero but very small number of cases where even Apple’s investigation concludes that the customer did nothing wrong, and rather a parts supplier or subcontractor was at fault — in which case Apple pays the liability and then recoups the money from the guilty party, since it was likely to be a production partner or supplier who was actually at fault.

    In the vast majority of cases that have been reported on, including the ones that resulted in deaths, the record shows a strong correlation between using non-Apple chargers or engaging in other clear warranty-voiding behaviour — biting the battery, attempting to change it for a non-Apple version yourself, puncturing the battery in other ways, using it in the bathtub, and many many more such head-slappingly foolish user actions — that were the actual culprit that resulted in the damage. Moral of the story (which applies to any brand of tech stuff): don’t use cheap chargers and don’t engaging in warranty-voiding behaviour if you value your life and property.

    The lawyers and insurance companies are not motivated to investigate the actual cause thoroughly, because it is sometimes better/faster/cheaper or in their interests to hope to settle the claim. Apple tends to, when sued, do a thorough investigation — which is why you will almost never hear of a settlement or guilty verdict that isn’t appealed: Apple’s investigations tend to turn up user fault (largely by way of using unsafe chargers) most of the time.
    edited June 24 radarthekat
  • Reply 19 of 33
    elehcdnelehcdn Posts: 381member
    "The investigation has been completed.  The cause is undetermined at this time; however, the origin is believed to be on the kitchen floor in the area of electrical appliances.  There is no indication of criminal activity."

    https://parsippanyfocus.com/2017/02/22/breaking-news-apartment-fire-colonial-heights-apartments/ 

    So how much more investigation was done and who made the determination that the fire was due to an iPad?
    netmage
  • Reply 20 of 33
    elehcdn said:
    "The investigation has been completed.  The cause is undetermined at this time; however, the origin is believed to be on the kitchen floor in the area of electrical appliances.  There is no indication of criminal activity."

    https://parsippanyfocus.com/2017/02/22/breaking-news-apartment-fire-colonial-heights-apartments/ 

    So how much more investigation was done and who made the determination that the fire was due to an iPad?
    That would be the smoking gun. Pun intended. 

    The report by the investigator who works for the fire department should have more detail in what caused the fire. 

    If the fire was caused by the charger and it can be determined forensically that it was an Apple charger and cable, then Apple could be liable. 

    If not, good luck because now not only is the insurance company in the hole paying the claim, but now they will have to pay for Apple’s legal costs. 

    Neither the complex, nor the insurance company has mentioned they have a full fire investigator’s report and have determined the cause. 

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