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Summary:

Two iPhone4 owners who claimed the phone has a defective on-off switch are unable to sue Apple since the defect typically arises after the warranty expires.

iphone4-back

Two iPhone owners struck out in their attempt to sue Apple and AT&T over an alleged conspiracy to conceal evidence of a defective cable inside the phone that caused the on-off switch to malfunction.

In a Wednesday ruling in Los Angeles US District Judge Gary Feess threw out a case in which the iPhone owners claimed the power button in the iPhone 4 and 4s would stick, and asked to start a national class action. The suit mirrors another federal action in California this year in which another iPhone 4 owner presented evidence from comment boards and YouTube to show a “wiggly” power button (the second case is still tied in procedural matters).

In this week’s ruling (below), the judge states that Apple had no obligation to disclose defects that arose after the warranty for the phone expired. He added it was “speculative” to claim that a faulty power button represented a safety hazard:

Certainly being stranded in a broken down car, where there may not even be cell service, is as speculative a safety concern as being stranded with a broken phone.

The lawsuit, which began in state court last year , also named phone carrier AT&T as a defendant under a federal racketeering statute known as RICO. It claimed that AT&T and Apple had conspired to conceal the defect so that they could sell more phones in the period before customers’ contracts ran out.

An earlier version of this story stated this week’s ruling came in response to a later lawsuit filed in San Jose; as described above, that second lawsuit, which describes similar facts, is ongoing. This week’s ruling was issued in Los Angeles, not San Jose as previously stated.

You can read a copy of the Minutes in Chamber, spotted by Law360, for yourself here:

Apple Power Button Dismissal

  1. Were there no ambulances to chase that day?

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  2. More frivolous lawsuits should be thrown out by judges.There should be a higher bar set before you can actually file a lawsuit.

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  3. It’s totally true, the iPhone 5 does have a fault power button. I had a model with just such a problem. I solved it by walking into an Apple Store, showing them the problem, and asking if there’s anything they could do. They gave me a new phone on the spot. Problem solved. No class action required.

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    1. Exactly, I had a similar issue with my iPhone 5, walked into the Apple store and showed them, 15 minutes later walked out with a new phone. Cant beat Apple service. My kid has an iPhone 4s that stopped charging and well off its warranty, walked into Apple store and asked if there was anything they could do to fix the problem as the kid still had a contract, 15 minutes later my kid walked out with a new 4s. Back in 2008 i bought the Macbook air when it 1st came out, in 2013 the wifi stopped working, i thought i needed a new card or something, took the 5 year old laptop to the Apple store and 15 minutes later it was fixed, asked them how much and they responded don’t worry about it, No Charge!
      While there i picked up the macbook Pro. You can’t beat Apple service and i will be a loyal customer of Apple for many years just because of their service

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    2. Can’t beat Apple service? I went to Verizon when this happened as that was where I bought it. They told me it was a known and comon issue and to go to the Apple store. Drove over to the Apple store where the person politely told me that I was just past the 1 year warranty and I could either file an insurance claim with a ~$150 deductible or get a new contract with a new phone for $200. Designing a product to last just longer than the warranty lasts isn’t good customer service, its a ripoff. Phone has been in an Otterbox protective case since the day it was purchased.

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  4. In today’s news, another idiot judge makes another idiot ruling and clearly shows that judges in America have no clue what they are talking about when it comes to technology.

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    1. Raptor007, let me guess. South Korea?

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  5. hmmm, they offer extended warranty. conspiracy? safety hazard? 2 people out of how many millions of customers?

    oh and one more thing – these are consumer devices, which may suffer rough handling by some users.

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    1. Type “iphone power button” into Google and see what comes up. Pages upon pages of complaints about defective power buttons. Not just “2 people out of how many millions.” The phones should be recalled and fixed properly.

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  6. Just to clarify, Judge Feess is located in Los Angeles, not San Jose. (I worked for him while I was in law school. He is an outstanding judge.)

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    1. Thanks for flagging that, Josh. I’ve updated the story with the correct city.

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  7. So it would be OK if you had a Wobble Steering wheel on your car.
    I bet the same judge would not throw that out.
    When you buy anything that has controls on it they should be in good working order,and not loose,or a button keeps getting stuck. That`s defective goods,and the Judge should have known this. He can`t be a good judge if he didn`t spot that.
    I live in England,and this would come under faulty goods act.

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