Class-action lawsuit filed over iPhone 4 glass strength

As reported by LA Weekly:

If you own an iPhone 4 and the glass casing has broken, you are not alone.

So many people have complained, in fact, that the phenomenon has even earned the nickname, “Glassgate.

Apparently fed up and pissed off, California resident Donald LeBuhn filed a class action lawsuit earlier this week in L.A. County against Apple, claiming the company knows about the design flaw and refuses to warn consumers that “normal” use leads essentially to a broken phone.

Consumer warranty provider Square Trade, has published their own study, which can be summarized as:

iPhone 4 glass breaking 82% more than iPhone 3gs – four months in

Synopsis: SquareTrade analyzed iPhone accidents for over 20,000 iPhone 4s covered by SquareTrade Care Plans and found a 82% increase in reported broken screens compared to the iPhone 3gs.

Highlights of the study include:

  • iPhone 4 owners reported 82% more damaged screens in the first 4 months compared to iPhone 3gs owners.
  • Overall, the reported accident rate for iPhone 4s was 68% higher than for the iPhone 3gs.
  • An estimated 15.5% of iPhone 4 owners will have an accident within a year of buying their phone.

Square Trade Iphone Glass Study.

Many industry pundits are predicting that the next version,  iPhone 5, will feature a redesign and move away from the glass back and perhaps revamp the external antenna as well.  Certainly, changes to the antenna have been made for the Verizon CDMA version.  I wonder if there are design changes, whether those would be admissible as evidence of Apple’s knowledge of the issue, or whether they would been seen as remedial steps and barred under Federal Rules of Evidence 407, which states:

Subsequent Remedial Measures

When, after an injury or harm allegedly caused by an event, measures are taken that, if taken previously, would have made the injury or harm less likely to occur, evidence of the subsequent measures is not admissible to prove negligence, culpable conduct, a defect in a product, a defect in a product’s design, or a need for a warning or instruction.  This rule does not require the exclusion of evidence of subsequent measures when offered for another purpose, such as proving ownership, control, or feasibility of precautionary measures, if controverted, or impeachment.

Or California’s version (Rule 1151) which states:
When, after the occurrence of an event, remedial or precautionary measures are taken, which, if taken previously, would
have tended to make the event less likely to occur, evidence of such subsequent measures is inadmissible to prove negligence or culpable
conduct in connection with the event.

It will certainly be interesting to see how this progresses.

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