State Farm sues Apple over an iPhone 4s that went on fire


The count of blazing smartphone batteries keeps growing. It was not a Galaxy Note 7 phone, but rather an iPhone that went on fire. Insurer State Farm filed court documents on Thursday, alleging that in April last year an iPhone 4s “failed” and “started a fire” at the home of a woman from Wisconsin, named Xai Thao.

Preliminary investigations, conducted by an unnamed body, apparently revealed that “a significant and localized heating event in the battery area…as well as remnants of internal shorting” caused the fire. The documents also contain that no other cause was identified as a potential reason for the fire.

State Farm’s first basis of action addresses Apple’s strict liability as a manufacturer to provide products that are free of health hazards, while the second legal cause speaks of “Apple’s negligence in the design, manufacture and/or sale of the iPhone”. The insurer insists that the iPhone was defective and unreasonably dangerous at the time it was manufactured, placed for sale and then sold to Thao.

The claim form, however, is very limited as to the condition of the phone and the circumstances of the fire, such as whether it was plugged into a charger, or whether the phone had been previously tampered with. We have seen iPhones go afire on- and off-charger, so there might be something additional that we are not aware of at this point.

Both parties to the case have declined to comment on the matter. State Farm seeks to recover an excess of $75,000 from Apple, but it’s highly unlikely that such a case would progress to higher court instances, and may be dealt with out-of-court, due to publicity considerations. However, we presently lack sufficient detail to really know how the claim may unfold.

From the looks of it, it’s safe to say that flammable smartphones may still continue to make headlines, as is the case with this now rather outdated iPhone 4s. Samsung’s battery fiasco with the Galaxy Note 7 devices last year was accompanied by infrequent reports of Apple phones going on fire, too, but Sammy definitely leads the unpleasant scoreboard. With the Galaxy Note 8 not too far from reveal and the next lineup of iPhones coming later in the autumn, we hope that both companies will deliver safe and reliable devices, having learned from the Note 7 ordeal last year.

Source: scribd.com via CNET

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