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it’s safe to say that flammable smartphones may still continue to make headlines, as is the case with this now rather outdated iPhone 4s.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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34 Comments

1. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

iPhone catch fire, but the writer mention galaxy note 4 times in this article, lol..

4. sissy246

Posts: 7129; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Yeah had to get that dig at the note 7. I have never heard of , went on fire, I have heard of cought fire. Also the iPhone cought fire but the note 7 always blow up like a bomb, not catch fire.

13. g2a5b0e unregistered

I have never heard of "cought" on fire, but I've heard of caught on fire.

20. sissy246

Posts: 7129; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Oops, LOL

15. TerryD

Posts: 559; Member since: May 09, 2017

'Went on fire' I imagine means that the iPhone, on its own, got up and threw itself on a fire

29. bfuller2006

Posts: 85; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

LMFAO. so i'm not the only onw that caught that.

2. 47AlphaTango

Posts: 738; Member since: Sep 27, 2015

A good question for Xai thao is as follows: 1. Is it an original iphone or is it a fake iphone? China has been known for making a lot of fake iphones 2. Have he recently repaired the iphone 4s on a un-authorized iphone repair center. And did the technician replaced the battery with the same iphone battery? 3. The article said "placed for sale and then sold to Thao". This is the questionable part. Is the iphone brand new or a second hand?

6. lyndon420

Posts: 6863; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

Deflect all you like but it won't change the fact that phone companies use dangerous battery tech. Some of these companies have way too much money to burn...maybe they should be investing some of that money into their customers safety.

8. kiko007

Posts: 7520; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

The phone is six years old man. Seriously, if this was an S2 or something we wouldn't even have an article.

11. lyndon420

Posts: 6863; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

Yeah I get that. And the tech they're using today is the same as it was 10 years ago. We all know the dangers of damaging the batteries currently in use. Safer tech is out there. Question is...who will be the one to finally implement it?!

26. 47AlphaTango

Posts: 738; Member since: Sep 27, 2015

lyndon420 if the safer battery is a lot more expensive than the standard smartphone battery. Would a phone company invest it? It doesn't matter if the battery is safer. If the user keeps it plug in to the powerbank, powercase, or even on the wall adapter, and is using it while it is charging. Then it's a pointless argument to implement safer battery tech. Even those users who own the galaxy S8+ carry a powerbank with them for continuous use.

21. sissy246

Posts: 7129; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

That is bull crap. If this was any Samsung phone it would have been here also. I am more surprised they have this article because it is a iphone.

28. lyndon420

Posts: 6863; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

I'm not surprised. They want people cheering for apple not State Farm.

30. sissy246

Posts: 7129; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

That's true

25. 47AlphaTango

Posts: 738; Member since: Sep 27, 2015

kiko 007 There are hundreds. Or even thousand phone companies. Both Local and international providers. So are you saying that all phone companies use dangerous battery tech? Why complaint on the phone company when you can complain at the battery provider in the first place?

3. tokuzumi

Posts: 1951; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

LOL at a company trying to sue for a phone that came out 6 years ago. It's not even supported by Apple any more.

5. sissy246

Posts: 7129; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Doesn't matter, still a apple phone.

7. deewinc

Posts: 455; Member since: Feb 21, 2013

iPhone 4 catches fire and the author decides to backlink the article with Galaxy Note devices, including the Note 8 yet there are plenty of articles in PA and out there about other types of iPhones catching fire such as the iPhone 6 and iPhone 7. This is just stupid.

9. kiko007

Posts: 7520; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

There are also plenty of other Samsung phones that caught fire outside the Note 7, don't see you bringing that up. Biased opinions go both ways.

17. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Which ones? The only one I ever heard of was the S4 a few times. Still even if you combined ALL the Samsung phones that have ever caught fire that we know about, its total would still be less than all the iPhone's that have caught fire, that we know and don't know about. 62% of iPhone's, most the iPhone 6 failed in just 2 quarters, curious to know how many failed do to the battery begin the failure point. After all the iPhone 5/5S was riddled with battery issues too.

19. kiko007

Posts: 7520; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Any source for those stats you just pulled out of your ass? Of course there isn't... stop spreading misinformation.

23. AxelFoley unregistered

How much is deewinc getting paid for his biased opinion? One would only hope that there is a higher standard applied to an author versus a commenter. Commenters with opinions will always exist. But, I'd like to hope that PA has higher journalistic standards than the Drudge Report or Infowars. My faith in that fades by the minute.

34. razmahtaz001

Posts: 501; Member since: May 11, 2013

re: 9. kiko007 (Posts: 5233; Member since: 17 Feb 2016) There are also plenty of other Samsung phones that caught fire outside the Note 7, don't see you bringing that up. Biased opinions go both ways. ============================ ive read online that there were several iphone owners killed while using an iphone...didnt read anything online about a samsung phone killing its owners

10. jeroome86

Posts: 2314; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

Ouch PA. You just lit a fire for sure. 3,2,1, and here we go.

22. sissy246

Posts: 7129; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

They know that. It = clicks that = dollars

12. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

Safer battery tech is needed more than ever.

14. xtroid2k

Posts: 601; Member since: Jan 11, 2010

The iphone 4s is out of date. C'mon. this claim is rediculous. The iphone 4s came out in 2011. how many years ago was that???

16. tangbunna

Posts: 488; Member since: Sep 29, 2016

no company said about how long they should replace their phone battery.

32. lyndon420

Posts: 6863; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

Maybe it's time they start doing so. What would be acceptable to you? 6 months...a year...2 years?

33. tangbunna

Posts: 488; Member since: Sep 29, 2016

500 charge cycles per battery. everynight charge should be 2 years. but phones nowaday is charge 3 times per day. so 1 year is enough.

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