Remember the lawsuit claiming misrepresentation, breach of warranty, and fraud against Apple because some customers alleged the iPad overheats and shuts down when used outside? A federal judge in California has dismissed it with leave to amend because he found the allegations weren’t specific enough; plaintiffs can still file an amended complaint within 30 days in order to survive the defendant’s motion to strike the complaint entirely.
According to the judge’s opinion, the main allegation by the plaintiffs is that “the iPad fails to meet ‘reasonable consumer expectations’ because it ‘overheats so quickly under common weather conditions that it does not function for prolonged use either outdoors, or in many warm conditions, for a variety of common uses.’” More specifically, plaintiffs allege that “the iPad does not function in many of the outdoor environments depicted in the advertisements, nor within the temperature range of 32 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit” and that the device doesn’t function as an e-reader as described in Apple advertising materials because it allegedly shuts down abruptly in certain weather conditions.
Plaintiffs further allege “that Apple, ‘like many large corporations,’ has an “internal marketing information system which tracks customer demographics, competing products and technology, customer complaints and product returns’ as a result of which it ‘reasonably should have known of the customer complaints regarding the iPad.’”
U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel ruled, however, that the claims were not specific enough, and that particularly regarding the breach of warranty claim “[a]t the least, Plaintiffs must identify the particular commercial or advertisement upon which they relied and must describe with the requisite specificity the content of that particular commercial or advertisement.”
Apple sold nearly 15 million iPads in 2010 after releasing the product in April of last year. ComputerWorld has gathered a list of online complaints about iPad overheating since the devices began being sold.
So is the iPad safe from lawsuits now? Note those all important words “leave to amend” at the beginning of this article — that means the suit still could survive if allegations are amended so that the judge finds them specific enough to continue. Stay tuned!