The useless iPod ‘potential for hearing loss’ lawsuit

“Useless lawsuits are one of the great traditions of American jurisprudence. These costly and time-consuming actions serve only to reflect the inherent greed and foolishness of the plaintiffs. The recent trend of morbidly obese people suing fast food restaurants for causing their conditions seems to have vanished. This should by no means reflect a crisis of conscience in those unwilling to take responsibility for their lives. If anything, the vultures and parasites among us are alive and well,” Christopher J. Stephens writes for The National Ledger.

“The latest flavor in our national candy sampler of people we should not know goes by the name of John Kiel Patterson. The only identification most reports have offered about Patterson is his state of origin (Louisiana) and his name. This is just as well. Whether Patterson is 16 or 66, he will be temporarily fixed in a flimsy file in our memory cabinet as the man who initiated a class action lawsuit against Microsoft’s Apple Computer, Inc. [sic] for creating and marketing ipods that are ‘inherently defective in design’ and ‘not sufficiently adorned with adequate warnings regarding the likelihood of hearing loss,'” Stephens writes.

MacDailyNews Take: Microsoft’s Apple Computer, Inc.?! Whatchu talkin’ ’bout, Chris? You had us at “useless.” Don’t screw it all up with some crazy-ass Freudian slip. Now, get back on track… [Update: Feb. 5, 10:58am EST: Original article now shows that “Microsoft’s” has been removed.]

Stephens continues, “It might be understandable at this point if Patterson had actually experienced hearing loss. His attorney Steve B. Merman [sic: it’s Steve W. Berman] claims that’s beside the point of the lawsuit. For Berman, Patterson, and anybody else who might want to jump on this potential gravy train, it’s about the potential the product provides… On paper, there seems to be logic in this premise. If a product is defective and has the potential to cause damage, it should be recalled and repaired. Warnings are plainly visible on the packaging, but they may not be enough. Read between and beneath the lines and the logic falls apart. There is risk in everything if we turn off our brains before absorbing any given experience. If a plaintiff like John Kiel Patterson is allowed to collect damages for likely hearing loss, the potential for future foolishness is unlimited.”

Full article here.
Another potential benefit of useless, baseless lawsuits against products that Stephens fails to mention is to help out “competitors” that happen to lack the ability to compete. The iPod nano scratches lawsuit – also handled by the same Microsoft-retained vulture Steve W. Berman, by the way – didn’t work to slow iPod sales; maybe a ridiculous lawsuit against iPod for potentially causing hearing damage will? Highly doubtful, but why let common sense and facts (all iPods ship with volume controls and the warning: “Avoid Hearing Damage*”) stand in the way of filing in a U.S. court, right?

*From Apple’s iPod User’s Guide: Avoid Hearing Damage: Warning: Permanent hearing loss may occur if earbuds or headphones are used at high volume. You can adapt over time to a higher volume of sound, which may sound normal but can be damaging to your hearing. Set your iPod volume to a safe level before that happens. If you experience ringing in your ears, reduce the volume or discontinue use of your iPod.

Apple’s iPod User’s Guide also states: Avoid Wet Locations” Warning: To reduce the chance of shock or injury, do not use your iPod in or near water or wet locations.” Stay tuned for Berman’s upcoming lawsuit filing when he finds a client who wants to sue Apple because he or she thought about taking a shower with their iPod.

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Related articles:
Report: Apple iPod hearing loss lawsuit headed by Microsoft retained trial lawyer – February 02, 2006
iPod user sues Apple over hearing loss [UPDATED] – February 01, 2006
Pro-Microsoft attorney involved in anti-Apple iPod nano lawsuit – October 25, 2005


  1. The National Ledger needs to find a journalist that can actually differentiate between “Microsoft” and “Apple” before letting them write about a frivolous lawsuit against either. I had to do a double-take when my eyes ran across that “freudian slip”… then I laughed my a** off!

  2. Frivilous lawsuits are good for entertainment value if nothing else.

    Maybe this Steve W. Berman will get lucky and score a hit 3rd time around? Good luck buddy. Suckers.

    Haha, MW=chance. I kid you not.

  3. Headphones have been around for longer than I’ve been alive (coming up to 50 now) and they’ve always been able to blow away my ears. Okay, they are better at it now. Ever since the Sony Walkman. Hey, why aren’t you suing Sony, or Pioneer, or TDK, or Philips, or Sennheiser? Oh, I forgot, Microsoft.

  4. Warning: Device may cause brain damage if smashed against head with sufficient force. If pain is felt on forehead, discontinue use of iPod for head smashing purposes.

  5. I was angry when I first heard this. But now I can laugh my head off because everyone sees it as incredibly stupid. Berman will be laughed out of every office – bar Microsoft, where he will receive commiserations..

  6. I think somebody should start a class action suit against Steve W. Berman for causing hardship to every American by wasting tax payers dollars with frivolous law suits, resulting in increased taxes, reduced court capacity to deal with real injustice, etc.

    Maybe we should collectively sue him for …. oh I don’t know …. maybe $100,000 for every man woman and child in the good old USA … so whats that add up to $25,000,000,000,000

    Yeah !!!

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