It seems the increased speed and efficiency of the iPhone 4 has been matched by the legal profession. It took just days from the new model going on sale for the first class action suit to come Apple’s way.
As regular readers will have guessed, it involves the reception issues caused by the way the antenna is built into the casing of the phone itself and thus more susceptible to interference (largely through heat) when touched by the user’s hand.
The lawsuit formally names Kevin McCaffrey and Linda Wrinn of Maryland as the plaintiffs. If the application to become a class action case is successful, there’d be a single trial where the outcome would apply to any US iPhone 4 buyer who added their name to the case.
Whatever the merits of the case, it’s fair to say the lawyers involved are going full throttle. They’ve come up with nine different claims against Apple:
- General negligence (they should have known the problem would occur)
- Defect in design, manufacture and assembly (they didn’t make a working phone)
- Breach of express warranty (they said the phone worked)
- Breach of implied warranty for merchantability (whatever they said, it should have worked anyway)
- Breach of implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose (seriously, it’s a phone, it should still get a signal when you hold it)
- Deceptive trade practices (it didn’t work and they took our money anyway)
- Intentional misrepresentation (the dude in the commercial was holding the phone normally, and they didn’t mention the whole not working deal)
- Negligent misrepresentation (OK, a little mistake we could live with, but come on, a phone that doesn’t work when you hold it?!)
- Fraud by concealment (two hundred bucks, a monthly fee, and still it doesn’t work?)
AT&T is also on the hook for seven of the claims, all except the defect in design and the breach of express warranty.
Whether any of this makes it into a courtroom is another matter, but reading through it does look as if the countless advertisements showing people holding the phone in the “wrong” way will be the closest thing to a smoking gun.
I have a suspicion this won’t be the last of the claims, however. The fact that the problem disappears with a $29 accessory from Apple may not be a sinister and cynical ploy, but it doesn’t exactly look great to a skeptical lawyer.