Class action lawsuit demands Apple install texting and driving safeguards; seeks to halt all iPhone sales in California

MLG Automotive Law has filed a class action lawsuit against Apple Inc., seeking to enjoin the company from selling further iPhones until it installs “texting and driving safeguards.” The lawsuit, Julio Ceja v. Apple Inc. (Case No. BC647057), was filed Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

The lawsuit alleges that Apple puts profit before consumer safety. According to the filing, the company has had the technology to prevent texting and driving since 2008 – and even received a patent on it in 2014 – but refuses to use it over concerns that it will lose market share to other phone-makers who do not limit consumer use. In the last three months of 2016, Apple generated $8.5 billion in net profit, and at the end of its fiscal year had $238 billion of cash on hand.

The lawsuit claims that, based on data provided by the Federal Highway Administration and the California Highway Patrol, Apple’s iPhones are responsible for 52,000 automobile accidents in California each year, and an average of 312 deaths.

“Texting and driving has become one of the most serious issues that confronts all of us on a daily basis,” said Jonathan Michaels, the founding member of MLG Automotive Law, in a statement. “The number of people who have been being killed or injured is astonishing. It has to stop.” Michaels continued, “Legislating against drivers will unfortunately not solve the problem. The relationship consumers have with their phones is just too great, and the ability to slide under the eye of the law is just too easy. Embedding lock-out devices is the only solution.”

Julio Ceja of Costa Mesa, California was injured in an accident caused by a driver who was on her iPhone. The class action is brought on behalf of all California residents, and seeks to halt all iPhone sales in the state until the lock-out device is employed.

MacDailyNews Take: What about the legitimate use of texting while in a moving vehicle by passengers? An accelerometer doesn’t know who’s driving – or if you’re in a taxi, on a bus, etc.

Apple’s not at fault here. They just have lots of money and, as usual when lawyers are involved, are being wrongly targeted.

Apple sued by parents who claim FaceTime caused 5-year-old daughter’s Christmas Eve death – December 29, 2016


          1. …and I’m sure you would advocate making those classes mandatory, paid for by the taxpayer….the mentality of pricks exactly like you are the barrier to making America great again. News bulletin, Cocoa Boy, we are gonna do it anyway.

            1. This isn’t the state going after apple. It’s a private firm who sees $ signs… frivolous case that will likely get thrown out, the state has nothing to do with this.

            2. You hit the proverbial nail on the head, botty. Those like Sean would like to see mandatory government “re-education centers”, where “wrong thinking” is punished.

            1. Reminds me of the old joke about California being a “granola state”: once you take away the nuts and fruits, the only thing you have left is a bunch of flakes!

        1. Civility and respect for one another will never end no matter how much Trump tries to end it. The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens. Globalism is the future and as the States in America united, so goes the States of the world.

          Eugene, you can remain a troll forever but the world marches on.

      1. Not in California. As a California native I can attest that this state is as far left as any state in the union. 95% of all government positions are held be Democrats. And the billions of debt are greater than the other 49 states combined. Those Democrats agreed to incredibly generous wages and pension contracts with government unions, and then turned around and passed hundreds of laws and regulations that caused a flood of businesses to leave the state, along with their middle-class jobs, thus undercutting tax revenues to pay for the goverment’s largess. We are still a great state, and I am not saying that all Dems or Dem initiatives are wrong, but the single party rule for three decades has made things a lot harder to make a living here than it used to. Toyota’s US headquarters just left the city next to me last year for Texas. And so went the 5000 high paying jobs and tax revenue. CA has pockets of high income, but the majority of the state outside of a handful of big cities with tech and finance is struggling.

        1. I’m retired now, but in 1991 I beat the rush and moved my firm to Idaho, leaving my hometown in California behind. Over the next 10 years my sister and brother joined my in my exodus. Since then my hometown has filed bankruptcy and average income has dropped from $52K to $34K. In the period between 1970 and 2012 Democrats and public employee unions controlled the City.

        2. Interesting, because CA seems to have elected many governors like Reagan, Younger, Deukmejian, Wilson, and Schwarzenegger who were republicans.

          Despite all the hue and cry about regulatory oppression, it’s plainly clear that the rules are needed to keep the massive net immigration into CA from other US states in line.

          As for debts, when the USA takes the cake there. But somehow the oppressive regime in CA must do something correctly, since Apple and other industry stalwarts are proud to stay there. California’s gross economy dwarfs a multitude of flyover red states combined.

          2015 state GDP:
          CA: $2,424,033,000,000

          18 lowest economically performing Red States:
          WY + SD + MT + ND + AK + ID + WV + MS + NE + AR + KS + UT + IA + OK + KY + SC + AL: + LA TOTAL = $2,281,230,000,000

          Note that the above isn’t skewed massively by land area or population. CA just seems to kick out more economic output per person. CA has only 12.2% of the US population but outperforms the above 18 states that total 14.7% of the US population.

          Trumpbo’s favorite economy, Russia 2015 GDP: $1,324,734,000,000

          Perhaps the reality is, success attracts people, more people brings more conflicts, more conflicts necessitates more laws, more laws means botty whines more. Solution: send botty a free one way ticket to Alaska where he can admire Russia from his cabin and wave his Trump bumper sticker, guns, and obscenities around without any neighbors being the least bit upset. True Antisocial Freedom.

    1. I also think the auto-makers should be forced to put a cage around drivers’ heads to prevent them gazing out the side window and handcuffs to ensure two-handed driving.

      In fact, a separate compartment is probably a good idea – to prevent distracting conversation and – horrors – maybe some story-telling and joking to pass the time.

      Plus odor detection – to make sure there is no eating going on.

      And for all the passengers who would be locked out of their phones in cars, trains and buses… tough.

  1. When are people going to take responsibility for their own actions. It isn’t always someone else’s fault. People will stop dying when we put down our phones. It is called self control. Eventually people will be calling for our phones to brick themselves when they detect we are moving at certain speeds. You can’t protect people from themselves and you cannot plan for every eventuality. If we try to legislate every aspect of our lives we eventually give away all of our freedoms. That is where lawsuits like these are leading us.

  2. What about a class action suit against $tupid people who is always looking to blame companies for their own $tupidity and make companies rise the price of products because I dots who think every one else if to blame for their idioticity but them?

  3. Remove the Land of Fruits and Nuts from the recent U.S. Presidential Election and President Trump won by 1.4 million votes.

    2016 U.S. Presidential Election popular vote total outside California:
    Trump: 58,474,401
    Clinton: 57,064,530

    California in 2016 proves the true genius of the Electoral College: It was designed to prevent regional candidates from dominating national elections and it worked perfectly.

    2016 U.S. Presidential Election electoral votes won:
    Trump: 306
    Clinton: 232

      1. 2016 Texas popular vote totals:

        Trump: 4,681,590
        Clinton: 3,867,816

        Difference: 813,774

        With California and Texas removed, Trump still wins by the U.S. popular vote by 596,097 votes.

            1. Take a look at the difference between federal spending on any given state and the federal taxes received from that state. We measure the difference as a dollar amount: Federal Spending per Dollar of Federal Taxes. A figure of $1.00 means that particular state received as much as it paid in to the federal government. Anything over a dollar means the state received more than it paid; anything less than $1.00 means the state paid more in taxes than it received in services. The higher the figure, the more a given state is a welfare queen.

              Of the twenty worst states, 16 are either Republican dominated or conservative states. Let’s go through the top twenty.

              New Mexico: $2.03
              Mississippi: $2.02
              Alaska: $1.84
              Louisiana: $1.78
              West Virginia: $1.76
              North Dakota: $1.68
              Alabama: $1.66
              South Dakota: $1.53
              Kentucky: $1.51
              Virginia: $1.51
              Montana: $1.47
              Hawaii: $1.44
              Maine: $1.41
              Arkansas: $1.41
              Oklahoma: $1.36
              South Carolina: $1.35
              Missouri: $1.32
              Maryland: $1.30
              Tennessee: $1.27
              Idaho: $1.21
              Does anyone else notice the overwhelming presence of northern “rugged individualist” states, like Alaska, the Dakotas and Montana, along with most of the South? Why it’s almost like there’s a pattern here or something.

              Where can we find liberal bastions California, New York, and Massachusetts? California is 43rd, getting back only $0.78 for every dollar it sends to Washington. New York is 42nd, and one penny better off, at $0.79 per dollar. Massachusetts is 40th, receiving $0.82 for every dollar it sends to DC.

            2. If you can read and comprehend, you see the California is better off without being tied to the Divided States. They can join Canada along with Oregon and Washington and get proper medical care for free (or nearly free) included in their taxes. We will give you Quebec for nothing in exchange. No, we don’t want Texas.

            3. A worthy attempt with the facts, Reality Check.

              Too bad all he’s got is to repeat an empty and fact-free fantasy. But that’s always been his way — empty bombast and/or vitriol and/or name-calling.

  4. Living here, in California for all of my life basically, I’d just like to say…

    I. I uh… I got nuthin.

    We are the biggest bunch of kooks in the nation. There is no such thing as individual rights in California, only the rights of the collective, and all rights can be legislated away.

    1. Quite often, except for the negative impact of Apple, I wonder if the country might not be better off if Lex Luthor’s plan to make a fortune in real estate were to be realized.

      Miss Teschmacher!!!

  5. I believe the law already provides incentives to drive responsibly with a mobile phone.

    There’s such a thing as “involuntary manslaughter” where someone is killed without intent. This might apply to auto accidents where neither party is at fault (no drugs, alcohol or reckless operation). Penalties are typically lower.

    Then there’s “constructive manslaughter” where killing was not the intent but a person was killed by someone doing an unlawful act, which in this case would be use of a cell phone in a manner prohibited by law. Penalties should be much more severe in this case.

  6. This isn’t so much about California, than MLG automotive. Plus, I’m sure a lot more accidents are caused by the usual suspects: putting on makeup, eating, drinking, reading, scratching nuts, blah blah blah…..Texting is an epidemic for sure, but this is not the way to go. What I can’t figure is how some of these people can even pass a driving test. It is literally amazing the level of incompetence that a lot of drivers have out here. We need a law against stupid people behind the wheel.

  7. Also, the stupid politicians (read democrat liberal scumsuckers) already have so many laws against just about everything, and it hasn’t helped one fscking bit. Like the stupid and insane gun laws we have, that won’t stop somebody bent on murder with firearms one fscking bit. But these asshole dems are fscking blind as bats to the fact. Dickheads all of them.

    1. They’re not blind. They are manipulating the stupid for their own gain. That’s why they have “gun control” sit-ins on the floor of the House led by an obviously brain-damaged civil rights profiteer, why they boycott inaugurations when they lose, why they blame others (“Russia,” WikiLeaks, etc.) for their own failings (nominating the worst U.S. presidential candidate since Dukakis over an elderly socialist who’s never held a real job, etc.) Come to think of it, Obama never held a real job, either. Perhaps that’s a contributor to the current malaise. Anyway, I digress: They aren’t all stupid or blind, but they know that emotions are a much easier sell versus thought and logic, so they run as Democrats because it shows they “care” and the complicit, in-the-tank media will back them implicitly, if not explicitly, over the opposition.

  8. I guess I’m not surprised at how the comments are running here. Most of tthem are off the topic in the article, in my opinion. This is a law firm, taking a case on contingency, trying to extort a lot of money from Apple and to garner some publicity.

    If this is truly a problem in need of a solution, the courts are not the place to make it happen. This should be addressed by the legislature and it should apply to all cell phones sold in California. Might be kind of difficult to make it apply to all cell phones brought in by tourists.

    So it goes way beyond legitimate use by passengers. How many of all the iPhones presently in California were sold there? Presumably, these are the only ones to which a judgment against Apple would apply.

    This is just plain STUPID!

    1. If the article is correct, the case may be stronger against Apple due to the actual filing and receiving a patent for the technology to “prevent texting and driving”.

      1. The problem is that the patent technology (which is based on the phone’s sensors detecting motion) can not distinguish between a driver and a passenger.

        Nor could it distinguish if someone was a passenger on a bus, train, plane, etc.

        Another equally valid problem with this technology would concern the legitimate (and necessary) use of cell phones (while in motion) by cops, firemen, business people being chauffeured, elected officials being chauffeured, etc., etc.

        1. Playing the devil’s advocate, I could see the argument made that Apple could have built the ‘feature’ and made the default setting ‘active’ which could be turned off by the user. The point would be that Apple would be free of fault if the user deliberately changes the setting.

        2. Let me preface this by saying that most of the lawyers I have met over the last 40+ years would agree that this is a ridiculous lawsuit. The people who buy a product are the ones responsible if they misuse it after being warned of the danger.

          However, I’m surprised that nobody here has apparently looked at the Apple patent. It isn’t just based on motion. To lock out use, there would ALSO have to be a secondary indication that the phone isn’t being used from someplace that is safe (e.g., the passenger seat of a car, bus, or plane). The patent mentions two possibilities: a transmitter in the car that enables the determination of location within the vehicle, or a “scenic analyzer” that uses the cameras in the phone to determine its position.

          If the patented invention worked, it would effectively block driving and cellphone use. However, we don’t know if it has actually been implemented in an effective (and remotely cost-effective) way that would not also block legitimate use of the device. Imagine, for example, if someone being kidnapped could not use their iPhone from the trunk of a moving vehicle.

  9. “Apple’s iPhones are responsible for 52,000 automobile accidents in California each year, and an average of 312 deaths”

    I seriously doubt an iPhone ever reached over and grabbed the steering wheel and pulled the car into an oncoming lane of traffic. Ditto stepping on the gas pedal, or blocking the brake pedal. Or anything else that would actually *cause* an accident. A driver’s lack of attention or lack of common sense is not Apple’s fault. In fact, it is much more nearly the responsibility of the vehicle manufacturer than it is Apple’s. But that would just be stupid to blame it on the car. (Hint: It is stupid to blame it on Apple, too.)

  10. In 2014 there were 1053 alcohol related fatalities on California roadways. No telling how many accidents and injuries are caused by drunk drivers.

    We’ve had the technology for years (In car breathalyzer ignition locks- yes there are work arounds to those so it’s not perfect) shouldn’t every car sold in California have one installed? Surely people won’t mind the added expense. And hey, since drunks are so distractive that drivers might not be able to focus on the road why not make a breathalyzer that takes a generalized sample so that it locks out the ignition if anyone in that car is drunk? This minor inconvenience couldn’t possibly generate any real objections from drivers given the innocent lives to be saved.

    Currently one in five deaths in the United States is related to obesity. Shouldn’t restaurants have a system in place to determine whether a person is putting themselves at risk by the food that they are ordering?

    Surely the technology can be developed that would measure a persons height and weight, log into their health records then determine what foods and portions a person would be able to order. And let’s alert their health insurance (if they still have any) at the same time too. After all if those folks don’t start policeing themselves all of us will bear the burden of high health insurance rates, right?

    Or how about we somehow just learn to be more responsible? There’s an original thought. People acting in a socially responsible manner that isn’t idiotic, reckless and selfish with the possibility of harming yourself and others. Oh, I guess that’s what used to be called “normal”.

    To think that Apple should be held responsible for the actions of the folks who disregard not just the common sense notion that taking selfies while you are driving is just plain stupid and not worth getting into an accident for (not to mention a ticket) is yet another example of why lawyers have just about as much respect from the general public as does congress.


  11. The iPhones were not responsible for any traffic collisions; human drivers were. If California really wanted to address the problem, the state would encourage more autonomous vehicles that would not be distracted by texting.

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