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A class action lawsuit that Apple was facing over "Flexgate" issues affecting MacBook Pro displays has been dismissed by a California federal judge, reports Law360.

macbook-pro-flexgate.jpg

Filed in May 2020, the lawsuit accused Apple of knowingly concealing an alleged flex cable display defect impacting some 13 and 15-inch MacBook Pro models. The judge overseeing the case said that because the defect appeared after the warranty period, Apple was not required to disclose it because it was not a safety issue.

While the lawsuit has been dismissed, the judge is allowing it to be amended. Plaintiffs will need to include an argument that the Flexgate issue was a safety hazard, as well as providing evidence that Apple "knew with certainty that the alleged defect would occur."

The Flexgate problem affected MacBook Pro models released in 2016 and 2017, some of which began exhibiting uneven lighting at the bottom of the screen after a few years. This "stage light" effect could lead the backlighting system to fail entirely.

Repair site iFixit found that the problem was caused by a delicate flex cable that was prone to wearing out and breaking after repeated opening and closing of the display.

Apple updated the design of the display flex cable with the 2018 MacBook Pro, and launched a free repair program in May 2019 that covered the 13-inch MacBook Pro models from 2016.

The now-dismissed class action lawsuit was seeking restitution for all costs attributable to repairing or replacing affected MacBook Pro models, and it called on Apple to expand the free repair program to cover 15-inch MacBook Pro models.

Article Link: 'Flexgate' Class Action Lawsuit Over Faulty MacBook Pro Displays Dismissed by Judge
 
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KaliYoni

macrumors 68000
Feb 19, 2016
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This decision is sort of bad for consumers, but is terrible for the plaintiff's lawyers.

Why do I say that? I get a lot of class action notifications because I hold a high number of individual stocks in my investment portfolio. Without exception, lawyers who win a class action suit get essentially all of the money paid out by a target company in a settlement. The people who were actually affected by the wrongdoing only get a few cents per dollar of incurred loss.

So from a customer service standpoint, it sucks that Apple is escaping a penalty for releasing a poorly designed product. But due to the structure of the class action lawsuit industry in the US, MBP buyers really aren't losing much financially. :(
 

cmaier

Suspended
Jul 25, 2007
25,405
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California
What is wrong with this judge its clear the computer has a low quality build

“Low quality build” is not something for which you can sue in Judge Davila’s jurisdiction, as long as the machine is works the way it is supposed to during its warranty period, which is the time period that the consumer can reasonably expect the machine to work for its intended use, apparently.
 

nylon

macrumors 65816
Oct 26, 2004
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I seems the claim might have been incorrectly brought. There have been successful cases brought against apple for faulty hardware in the past. The Nvidia GPU class action comes to mind.
 

szw-mapple fan

macrumors 68040
Jul 28, 2012
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And a loss for the consumer. Why would you cheer this?
I'm not sure if it's a win or a loss. It's perfectly plausible that this was not accounted for in the design phase or was not revealed in testing so it wouldn't be entirely fair if they got blamed under the current laws. On the other hand, it screwed over everyone who got a defective unit. There should be regulations on these kind of widespread issues where if a certain percentage of units gets the same defect within a certain number of years, it would automatically trigger a free recall.

I wouldn’t but im sure Apple will do everything it can to make it right. If you don’t like it you can always return it
That's the problem. With design defects like these the issue doesn't show up until years after you buy it and by then it’s long past either the return or warranty window.
 
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nutmac

macrumors 603
Mar 30, 2004
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I think its good. I'm sick of frivolous lawsuits. It's already stated that Apple had a repair program for this and took care of those affected.
You wouldn't think it's frivolous if you were affected by it. I have 2016 MacBook Pro affected by this flaw. The screen (or top case) was replaced under AppleCare+ warranty, right before the warranty expired. About a year later, the screen failed again. This time, I was asked to pay about $700 or so for the service.
 

cmaier

Suspended
Jul 25, 2007
25,405
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California
I'm not sure if it's a win or a loss. It's perfectly plausible that this was not accounted for in the design phase or was not revealed in testing so it wouldn't be entirely fair if they got blamed under the current laws. On the other hand, it screwed over everyone who got a defective unit. There should be regulations on these kind of widespread issues where if a certain percentage of units gets the same defect within in a certain number of years, it would automatically trigger a free recall.

That effectively increases the warranty period. You can bet that Apple would make up for that with even higher prices.
 

bluespark

macrumors 68040
Jul 11, 2009
3,080
3,972
Chicago
This decision is sort of bad for consumers, but is terrible for the plaintiff's lawyers.

Why do I say that? I get a lot of class action notifications because I hold a high number of individual stocks in my investment portfolio. Without exception, lawyers who win a class action suit get essentially all of the money paid out by a target company in a settlement. The people who were actually affected by the wrongdoing only get a few cents per dollar of incurred loss.

So from a customer service standpoint, it sucks that Apple is escaping a penalty for releasing a poorly designed product. But due to the structure of the class action lawsuit industry in the US, MBP buyers really aren't losing much financially. :(
This is not correct. Class action plaintiffs' attorneys typically take one-third (or so) of the total settlement/award. The remainder is divided among the class members. The money the attorneys take is on a contingency basis, meaning that they typically do not get paid at all during the course of the litigation (which can take years), and they leave empty-handed if they lose entirely.

Although individual class members typically make very little, that's by design. If they want to litigate for money themselves, they have a right not to be a part of the class. If, however, they are part of the class, they lose nothing in the case of a bad result, and the defendant company loses quite a bit in the aggregate. This incentivizes companies to adhere to the law when designing, building, and advertising products.

There are plenty of downsides to this approach, but the only real alternative is to aggressively regulate issues such as build quality, which the U.S. (and its voters) have little appetite for. That's the approach taken in most countries, however.
 
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