Insurance company State Farm is suing Apple over a claim that an iPhone 4s caught fire in a home causing more than US$75,000 in damage. The lawsuit alleges Apple sold a defective iPhone, and that Apple was negligent when designing the device.
State Farm’s client, Xai Thao bought her iPhone 4s in 2014 and didn’t tamper with the battery in any way. In 2016 her phone went up in flames, they say, causing thousands of dollars in damage.
According to State Farm, an investigation showed internal short circuiting potentially leading to the iPhone’s battery overheating and failing catastrophically. The filing states,
Preliminary investigations show evidence of a significant and localized heating event in the battery area of the iPhone as well as remnants of internal shorting, indicating that an internal failure of the iPhone’s battery caused the fire.
The filing doesn’t state, however, if the iPhone was connected to an Apple charger, an unauthorized third-party charger, or if it was connected to a charger at all. Apple will no doubt want to explore that as part of its defense.
Insurance companies aren’t known for enjoying paying out large sums of money, so it isn’t any surprise State Farm wants to recoup at least some of that $75,000. The case was filed in U.S. District Court in the Western District of Wisconsin, and State Farm is seeking unspecified damages.
Considering the iPhone 4s isn’t known for bursting into flames, State Farm may have a hard time proving in court Apple acted negligently when designing, making, and selling the model. That said, claiming negligence is pretty much standard operating procedure in cases like this.
Apple hasn’t commented on the case.
[Thanks to Apple Insider for the heads up]