Apple sued by the parents of a 5-year old girl who died in a car accident


Life changed forever for James and Bethany Modisette on December 24, 2014. That was the date when they lost their five-year old daughter, Moriah, to a horrific car accident. The family was in their car, slowing down because of  traffic congestion. But a 20-year old driver, whose name is not being made public, smashed into the Modisette's car at 65 miles per hour. Why didn't he slow down? He allegedly was in the middle of a FaceTime video chat on his Apple iPhone 6. When the cops arrived, they found the FaceTime call still in progress with the app still running.

In a civil lawsuit pertaining to the crash, the Modisette's are including Apple as a defendant. The tech titan is being accused of not implementing a lock out feature to prevent those driving a car from using FaceTime. Apple had already patented such a design and by not implementing such a feature, the suit calls the iPhone 6 defective. The suit accuses Apple of breaching its care to the plaintiff. As a result, the driver's careless behavior is "inextricably intertwined" with Apple's failure to implement the patented lockout feature.

The suit doesn't request that Apple add the lockout feature on current and future models. Instead, it seeks damages, medical expenses, and other payments that the court might see fit to demand. Oh, in case you were wondering, Texas has no law against the use of a cellphone by a driver over 18 who is motoring down the state's highways.


It is a tragic tale, to be sure. By you don't have to be familiar with the law to realize that the plaintiff's attorneys know full well that they weren't  going to get much money from a 20-year old. Instead, they went after the deep pockets. And as far as companies are concerned, there aren't many with pockets as deep as Apple's are.

You can check out the court papers that have been filed by clicking on the slideshow below.



source: Scribd via AppleInsider

FEATURED VIDEO

73 Comments

67. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Somehow this is Apple's fault? This is called distracted driving. You sue that drivers insurance company. This is just an opportunist lawyer. There have never been locks on phones that prevent using the phone while driving. I fail to see how this is an OEM issue and not a adult not being responsible issue

66. Tipus

Posts: 914; Member since: Sep 30, 2016

Smartpones kill, ban all smartphones. O serious note, how can you blame phone manufacturer for some idiots actions?

63. DGxumbreo7

Posts: 63; Member since: Nov 27, 2016

i will say they do need a lockout feature for facetime while driving but it doesnt make sense to sue apple for the kids non sense

61. darkkjedii

Posts: 31817; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Sue Apples ass for patenting things they'll never use, just to keep others from using it. Make em pay.

60. k9luvr

Posts: 122; Member since: Oct 17, 2016

Things learned from this article: 1. The deceased's family are gold diggers 2. The 20 yr old that caused the accident should NEVER see the light of day again. EVER 3. The government needs to start making examples out of people who cause accidents from playing on their phone while driving. Laws should insure mandatory jail time. Longer sentences for more serious accidents. 4. People playing on their phones while driving are no better than drunk drivers. 5. Push for change in laws

59. tedkord

Posts: 17544; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

I can't imagine losing a child, and hope I never have to. I don't know how you ever get over that. Sympathy to the parents.

58. dmitrilp_

Posts: 330; Member since: Sep 12, 2016

That's stupid, they should be mourning the loss of that little angel, nut instead they're just acting like a bunch of greedy as***es. They know full well they won't get a single dollar.

57. medicci37

Posts: 1361; Member since: Nov 19, 2011

The idiot driver is responsible & should do some serious jail time

55. monoke

Posts: 1217; Member since: Mar 14, 2015

What car make was he driving? Food/beverage brand? Toilet paper he used that morning? These all must have contributed in some way and must be sued! that's merica for ya.

53. bigdawg23

Posts: 467; Member since: May 25, 2011

These type of lawsuits are very common. Its very sad the little left earth too soon. However, Apple isnt to blame, but since they have deep pockets that is who gets sued. Just look into Abigail Taylor, who was disemboweled from a Pool Pump Motor. The real fault was the Minneapolis Golf Club and its pool attendants, as they didn't properly secure the drain cover. The family included Sta-Rite, as they had the largest bank account. Her incident ultimately pushed the Virginia Graham Baker law for Pool Drains through.

50. jove39

Posts: 2154; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

Well...loss of child is tragic...but how is this apple's fault?

49. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Suing Apple for blood money really, smj. If the person wasn't face timing they would have been texting so they still wouldn't have been looking at the road.

48. michaelny2001

Posts: 355; Member since: Aug 01, 2012

this is stupid. the judge will hear it for 2 minutes and then dismiss it. I hope Phonearena will revist this when it happens.

45. -swagfox-

Posts: 45; Member since: Dec 01, 2016

This is a incredibly stupid argument on the family's part. Even if they patented a safety feature, you can't sue a company for not implementing the feature. There is no legal requirement. Also, "Texas has no law against the use of a cellphone by a driver over 18 who is motoring down the state's highways." So technically what the guy was doing was fine. And let's not forget that this happened in December 2014. Why are they suing Apple NOW? This entire thing is incredible stupidity on the parent's part. I am 100% sure they will never get money from Apple.

38. gersont1000

Posts: 473; Member since: Mar 13, 2012

As much as I hate Apple, this is a ridiculous lawsuit. You can't expect product manufacturers to protect people from their own stupidity. It's like suing a knife manufacturer if your child was stabbed to death, instead of going after the killer. And what if you're a passenger in a car? Is Apple or any other video chat app maker supposed to now make the app know if you're driving and differentiate to just being a passenger on a car, bus, or train? I feel bad for their loss, but they need to drop this.

33. markobarko

Posts: 176; Member since: Oct 09, 2016

It doesn't matter apple or Jack D. or IBM, it's peoples stupidity and egoistic ignorance of the world around them, that newer cease to amaze me. It is more out there, than YOU and your phone, it's called LIFE and World. If we have to protect us from those egoists, than god help me, where I live.

31. boriqua2000

Posts: 264; Member since: Mar 11, 2009

Apple should file a counter suit and make these people pay their lawyers fees for filing this pathetic law suit. Trying to profit off the death of their 5 year old. This world is so screwed up

42. sissy246

Posts: 7129; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Try putting your self in their shoes, would you feel the same.

26. drunkenjay

Posts: 1705; Member since: Feb 11, 2013

America, the land where anyone can sue anything for everything.

28. GreenMan

Posts: 2704; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

The land of opportunity in other words, eh? We all should and must respect the deceased... It's the least we can do for them... But come to think of it, the parents are right... Allow me. They're trying to force Apple to do something about the Facetime while driving. It's not about their own daughter, it's about the humanity. They've lost a cute little innocent girl whose life could've been saved if Apple had made it impossible to use FT while on the move... And I can say the very same thing about the two girls who died in a car crash while using FT. I think we should respect their wishes and give them their credit. No greaving parent would go as low as to use their deceased little girl's name for financial purposes... It would be heartless... And being a father myself, I can understand what they are going through... My her soul rest in eternal peace...

37. SYSTEM_LORD

Posts: 1168; Member since: Oct 05, 2015

I get it. The lawsuit isn't about getting money, but about bringing it to Apple's attention the urgency of implementing this tech in order to save lives. I can agree with this move if that's the reason.

40. sissy246

Posts: 7129; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

I do agree with this post. I to think it's more to do with getting Apple on the ball and doing something about making FT unusable while in a moving vehicle. But if not FT he could have just as easy been on FB or one of the many others. I may not care for Apple but part of me hopes they get nothing and part of me hopes they do and show all smartphone manufacturers that they need to think of something to stop this from happening. I don't know what but all manufacturers need to come together on this and try to think of something.

46. -swagfox-

Posts: 45; Member since: Dec 01, 2016

There is no legal requirement to put the safety feature in. The parent's entire argument is stupid and irrelevant.

24. tatail

Posts: 261; Member since: Jan 08, 2010

Don't use apple devices myself, but how in the hell it's their fault.. Greedy people taking advantage of their daughter's death to make money.. Shame on them..

19. GreenMan

Posts: 2704; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

The accident is indeed very tragic. But the parents should just let it go... No need to drag a deceased girl's name in the courts and the headlines. Thing is, Technology is advancing at lightning speeds and yet we are still stuck in our primitive stage (racism and populism, anyone?) and repeating the same old foolish mistakes. First, it was texting and texting alone. And now... Well, Where to start? Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Facetime, Youtube and God knows what else... I'm a motorcyclist and this new 'tech trend' is extremely alarming to my "brotherhood"... I remember when an old guy used a cell phone jammer while on the highways, in Texas. I think I ought to buy one for myself while out and about on two wheels, eh? So many idiot drivers nowadays. And the distraction of modern technologies is icing on the cake... I wonder why we think that our regular chores and boring everyday tasks are so fascinating to the general mass...? Not long ago, two teenage girls died in a car crash while live-streaming on Snapchat... Why everyone think he's "THE TRUMAN"...? Truman show starring Jim Carrey, anyone? Oh well... B'Day...

21. GreenMan

Posts: 2704; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

Anyhow, if anyone here thinks that the world revolves around him and that he ought to live stream everything from pooping to eating then you sir ARE AN IDIOT... And being an idiot hurts sometimes...

23. meanestgenius

Posts: 23174; Member since: May 28, 2014

Truman starring Jim Carey was a pretty good movie.

27. GreenMan

Posts: 2704; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

Aye! Brilliant movie... Would've been even better with Robin Williams. The director considered Williams for the titular role but it eventually went out to Carrey who was considered more 'bankable' at the time... No doubt about Carrey's performance, he's a great actor... But the role was much better suited to Williams... Or perhaps Tom Hanks...! Oh well... G'Day!

54. meanestgenius

Posts: 23174; Member since: May 28, 2014

I agree. The late, great Robin Williams would have been excellent for the role. Tom Hanks, as well. In fact, all three suit the role, but Robin Williams would have been best for it.

32. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Problem is, you might get fined up to $112,000 and/or imprisonment of up to one year for using a cell phone jammer. These things are illegal, especially in public places.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless