Products Liability Law Daily Burn victim sues Apple, AT&T over exploding iPhone
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Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Burn victim sues Apple, AT&T over exploding iPhone

By Susan Engstrom

Device spontaneously and without warning burst into flames while in the consumer’s pants pocket, complaint alleges.

An individual who sustained second- and third-degree burns on his thigh after his Apple iPhone 6s allegedly exploded in his pants pocket filed a products liability suit against Apple Inc. and several AT&T entities for their role in manufacturing and selling the device. Asserting claims for negligence and strict liability, the complaint maintains that the companies’ conduct caused the consumer to suffer from permanent injuries such as scarring, pain, and deformity (Palush v. Apple Inc., April 21, 2020).

On the day of the incident, the consumer had the subject Apple iPhone 6s in his right-front pants pocket while he was sitting on his bed playing video games. According to his complaint, the iPhone suddenly and without warning burst into flames and/or exploded due to a defective condition of the phone and/or its battery. When he removed the phone from his burning pants, he discovered second- and third-degree burns in the form of the phone on his right thigh.

The consumer filed negligence and strict liability claims against Apple Inc.; AT&T Mobility, LLC (d/b/a AT&T Wireless); AT&T Mobility Services, LLC (d/b/a AT&T Wireless); AT&T Mobility Supply, LLC; and AT&T Mobility Corp. According to his complaint, Apple and the AT&T companies designed, manufactured, sold, and/or caused to be placed into the stream of commerce the subject Apple iPhone 6s. The consumer maintains that as a direct and proximate result of the defendants’ liability-producing conduct, he likely will permanently suffer from severe burns, scarring, pain, and deformity, as well as humiliation, embarrassment, and loss of life’s pleasures. He also will continue to spend money and incur expenses and medical bills.

Negligence claims. The consumer alleges that the incident in question was caused by the negligence, carelessness, and/or recklessness of Apple and the AT&T entities. Specifically, his complaint asserts that the defendant companies failed to, among other things: (1) properly test, distribute, and sell the subject iPhone; (2) provide adequate warnings, instructions, and/or directions regarding the phone’s safe use, operation, maintenance, and/or servicing; (3) inspect the phone for defects; (4) minimize foreseeable hazards and risks of injury associated with foreseeable uses and/or misuses of the phone; (5) take the proper steps to discover the existence of a dangerous, defective, or hazardous condition of the phone; (6) maintain adequate quality control measures with respect to the phone’s design, development, manufacture, assembly, installation, distribution, lease, or sale; and (7) maintain adequate quality control measures in regard to the third-party vendors and/or suppliers who provided components for the phone.

Strict liability claims. The complaint also contends that the subject iPhone was in a defective and unsafe condition when it left the defendants’ control and that it was unsafe for its reasonably foreseeable and intended uses. The consumer asserts that he used the phone in the manner for which it was intended and/or in a reasonably foreseeable way. In addition, the iPhone allegedly did not meet or perform to the expectations of a reasonable consumer, and its risks to consumers outweighed its benefits. According to the complaint, the phone was unreasonably dangerous and defective pursuant to the doctrines of strict liability as established by Pennsylvania law and the Restatement (Second) of Torts §402 A. The companies’ defective design, manufacture, distribution, and selling of the subject iPhone was a direct, proximate, and producing cause of the consumer’s injuries and damages, the complaint maintains.

Relief sought. Accordingly, the complaint is demanding judgment in the consumer’s favor and against Apple and the AT&T entities, individually, jointly, severally, and/or in the alternative, for damages each in an amount exceeding $75,000, together with other costs, interests, and relief that the court deems just.

The case is No. 2:20-cv-01978-KSM.

Attorneys: Mark C. Atlee (Atlee Hall, LLP) for Connor Palush.

Companies: Apple Inc.; AT&T Mobility, LLC d/b/a AT&T Wireless; AT&T Mobility Service, LLC d/b/a AT&T Wireless; AT&T Mobility Supply, LLC; AT&T Mobility Corp.

MainStory: TopStory ComplaintNewsStory WarningsNews DesignManufacturingNews DamagesNews ElectronicProductsNews PennsylvaniaNews

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