A class action lawsuit was filed in a California federal court against Apple, Inc. on October 24, 2014 alleging a defect affecting Apple’s premium 2011 MacBook Pro laptops. The defect compromises the laptops’ highly touted graphical performance, causing profound graphical distortion and eventually totally system failure. Impacted owners have amassed more than 20,000 signatures in a Change.org petition calling for Apple and its CEO Tim Cook to remedy the issue. Apple has yet to publicly acknowledge the problem.

The lawsuit alleges that the defect in the 2011 MacBook Pro laptops stems from the lead-free solder used to connect one of the computer’s graphics processing chips to the main circuit board. Lead-free solder, which Apple allegedly uses because of E.U. regulations prohibiting traditional solders, tends to be far more brittle than traditional solder. The complaint alleges that the rapid and frequent temperature changes inside the laptop cause the brittle lead-free solder to crack, resulting in graphical instability issues, such as distortion, pixilation, and banding. As the cracks in the solder propagate over time, the graphical issues worsen and cause total system failure.

While the 2011 MacBook Pro laptops were under Apple’s one-year warranty, Apple would, in some cases, replace consumers’ entire logic boards in response to the graphics defect. However, scores of owners reported that even after receiving one or more new logic boards, their systems continued to display the graphics defect and crash or fail, turning their computers into “$3000 paper weights.”

Now, outside of the warranty period, a replacement logic board is still the only option that Apple offers consumers. The thousands of consumers who are aware of the graphics defect are understandably hesitant to spend $350 – 600 on a repair that swaps out a non-functional and defective part with a temporarily functional but equally defective replacement.

The plaintiffs are represented by Gary E. Mason, Steven N. Berk, and Esfand Y. Nafisi of Whitfield Bryson & Mason LLP, and Michael Ram of Ram, Olson, Cereghino & Kopczynski.

The name of the case is Book et al. v. Apple, Inc.No. 5:14-cv-0476 (N.D. Cal., filed Oct. 24, 2014).

Source: Whitfield Bryson & Mason LLP