Court Grants Apple’s $50M Settlement Offer in Butterfly Keyboard Lawsuit

butterfly keyboard lawsuit

One class-action lawsuit against Apple may be drawing to a close. A court has given a preliminary green-light to Apple’s $50 million settlement offer to end the butterfly keyboard lawsuit. The class-action suit over the controversial keyboard mechanism first began in 2018. Apple agreed to the settlement offer in July 2022.

The Trouble With Apple’s Innovative Keyboard Design

Apple released the affected MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models in 2015 and 2016. They featured a new butterfly keyboard mechanism. Buyers quickly noticed problems with they keys sticking and becoming unresponsive, sometimes relatively quickly.

Originally, Apple claimed the problem was that the mechanism was prone to clogging by debris and dust. The Cupertino-based company offered instructions for cleaning the keyboard. In 2018, it launched a keyboard service program to address the issue. The same year, Apple added a membrane to the mechanism.

At first, Apple denied the membrane was meant to improve the keyboard’s reliability, saying that it was intended to make the mechanism quieter. However, service data proved the butterfly keyboard failed twice as often as its predecessors, right up until Cupertino added the membrane.

Apple to Pay $50 Million to Settle Butterfly Keyboard Lawsuit

That led to a lawsuit against Apple, which was granted class-action status in 2021. After some time, Apple proposed a $50 million settlement offer. Law firms Girard Sharp LLP and Chimicles Schwartz Kriner and Donaldson-Smith LLP accepted the offer. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California recently granted the settlement preliminary approval.

The settlement covers seven states, so it’s not broad-reaching. Eligible class-action members must have purchased their laptops in California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York or Washington. If their MacBook is still eligible, class-action members can still use Apple’s Keyboard Service Program even if they receive a settlement payment.

Of the $50 million, the law firms can claim up to $13.6 million in attorney’s fees along with $2 million in litigation fees. There’s also a provision granting up to $1.4 million in settlement administration costs and up to $5,000 for class representatives.

That leaves around $33 million for the actual class members. Estimates point to individual checks ranging from $50 up to $395. It all depends on the extent of the work needed in each case. Owners can expect payouts according to these payment guidelines:

  • $50 if you only had the keycaps replaced.
  • $125 if you had the entire keyboard replaced once.
  • $395 if you had two or more complete keyboard replacements.

Eligible customers who purchased their laptops directly from Apple should be automatically contacted regarding the settlement. However, the involved law firms are also creating a settlement website customers can register on in the near future.

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