Apartment complex, insurance firm sue Apple over lethal iPad fire

Roger Fingas for AppelInsider:

A New Jersey apartment complex and its insurance company are together suing Apple to recover payouts for a Feb. 22, 2017 iPad fire, which killed a tenant of the building, Bradley Ireland.

“The subject tablet was unreasonably dangerous and unsafe for its intended purpose by reasons of defects in its design and/or its manufacture and/or a lack of adequate warnings,” part of the court complaint reads. Apple is allegedly responsible for damages because it knew — or should have known — that the iPad’s lithium battery was an “ultrahazardous mechanism capable of causing damage, even when reasonably used.”

The plaintiffs, Union Management and its subrogating insurance company, Greater New York Mutual Insurance Company, filed the case June 20 through the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

MacDailyNews Take: From Apple’s iPad User Guide, in part:

Handling Handle iPad with care. It is made of metal, glass, and plastic and has sensitive electronic components inside. iPad or its battery can be damaged if dropped, burned, punctured, or crushed, or if it comes in contact with liquid. If you suspect damage to iPad or the battery, discontinue use of iPad, as it may cause overheating or injury. Don’t use iPad with a cracked screen, as it may cause injury. If you’re concerned about scratching the surface of iPad, consider using a case or cover.

Battery Don’t attempt to replace the iPad battery yourself. The lithium-ion battery in iPad should be replaced by Apple or an authorized service provider. Improper replacement or repair could damage the battery, cause overheating, or result in injury.

Charging Charge iPad with the included USB cable and power adapter. You can also charge iPad with “Made for iPad” or other third-party cables and power adapters that are compliant with USB 2.0 or later and with applicable country regulations and international and regional safety standards, including the International Standard for Safety Information Technology Equipment (IEC 60950-1). Other adapters may not meet applicable safety standards, and charging with such adapters could pose a risk of death or injury.
Using damaged cables or chargers, or charging when moisture is present, can cause fire, electric shock, injury, or damage to iPad or other property.

Apple’s iPad User Guide in full is here.

9 Comments

  1. I keep a fire extinguisher on every floor in my house just in case something like that happens. If some product catches fire while I’m using it, I’m putting that fire out.

    Maybe I should just let my house burn down if one of my Apple computers goes up in flames and sue Apple so I can get a more expensive house with a built-in fire extinguishing system. /s

  2. From MDN’s take on Apple’s iPad User Guide, it would be an interesting stat to see how many at the Apartment Complex, Insurance Company and Bank use iPads and iPhones, then ask how many have read thoroughly the companion User Guide. Who wants to guess which has the higher number. The User Guide is on par to an airline cabin crew safety announcement. Few if any listen, and few if any read, cover to cover, a User Guide. About the same number who read before agreeing to the EULA before downloading software.

    “The subject tablet was unreasonably dangerous and unsafe for its intended purpose by reasons of defects in its design”. If that be the case, why are there not more fires burning down houses, apartments, etc? My original iPad, with its original lithium battery still works like it was intended to. Maybe a little slower on the web browsing, etc. but it’s all good!

  3. MDN…
    Are you blaming the victim by suggesting they did not use the device properly and quoting the User Guide? If so, then by all means state where the misuse happened.

    1. I don’t believe that’s what MDN was implying. Or, at least that’s what I gleamed from the take. After reading the article, it seemed to me like this is just another case of ambulance chasing. Is it possible? Yes. However, highly improbable. As some have pointed out, where are the other fires caused by the battery? Why are there no other reports of battery failures? Why are there no news about it in the main stream media? A rational person would normally ask these types of questions to vet the veracity of such claims…or, maybe it’s just me.

  4. “Ambulance chasing” is a strange term here. Lawyers are called “ambulance chasers” when they primarily seek out clients who have injuries. I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing — persons who have been injured by another party’s negligence have a right to be compensated.

    There doesn’t need to be a widespread rash of fires for this device to be defective & responsible for the damage. If the iPad was being used as intended and it started a fire, then of course the manufacturer should be held responsible.

    I’m getting the impression from MDN and some comments here that people think Apple should not be held responsible for damage caused by its defective tablet?

    1. It’s not actually a strange term. Again, after reading the article, it’s the only logical conclusion. I agree with you that you one were to be injured from using said device at no fault to the owner, then the manufacturer should be held liable for said injury.

      In the lawsuit, there was no mention of the plaintiff notifying Apple of the incident. Reading the six pages worth claims, there was no hint of anything that they tried to notify Apple. Granted, it’s their prerogative to not do so. It does seem facetious to me, however, that at the sign of first trouble, the first thing you do is file a lawsuit…again, maybe it’s just me.

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