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Lawsuit pins Connecticut housefire on MagSafe adapter

updated 03:10 pm EST, Tue November 30, 2010

Plaintiff claims Apple was aware of defects

A new lawsuit accuses Apple of neglecting the safety of its MagSafe power adapters, according to AppleInsider. At the core of the dispute is a fire that hit a Connecticut family's home on May 23rd, 2008; the plaintiff cites the Glastonbury town fire marshal as tracing the incident back to the "external system components" of a MacBook Pro. The case is being pursued by an insurance firm, the Great Northern Insurance Company, which paid the fire victims over $75,000.

"Unbeknownst to [the client], in 2007 and 2008, Apple had received numerous complaints posted on its own Apple store website alerting Apple to heating, burning and sparking problems with its MagSafe adapters," the plaintiff writes in court documents. The filing specifically suggests that the MagSafe adapter was "in a defective and unreasonably dangerous condition," and that Apple "manufactured and sold the MagSafe adapter in a condition that it knew, or should have known, subjected the property of others to foreseeable and unreasonable risk of harm." Notes mention that the MacBook Pro and its adapter were bought in August 2007, and that neither item was abused or misused.

Although the firm is requesting a jury trial, financially, Great Northern is asking only to be reimbursed for the cost of the insurance payout. The case is not the first to be filed in relation to MagSafe adapters; in 2009, a class action suit alleged that normal use of the adapters was deteriorating cables, triggering sparks or flames. More recently Apple sued HyperMac to stop the sale of recycled MagSafe adapters.






by MacNN Staff

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  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -10

    Ha

    Apple should just give them the standard AppleCare response:

    "Sparks? Fire? That's the first we've heard of it."

  1. Paul Huang

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -2

    Yes, that's the answer

    In cases there are sparks, flames, fires, it is transferred immediately to another department.

    However, other problems related to blatant design flaws are often met with 'that's the first we've heard of it'.

  1. zimbardo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +6

    Those adapters were recalled already! Relax!

    Hilarious!

    The "complaints" were in 2007.

    Apple recalled the adapters in 2008.

    The lawsuit places the fire at May 23rd, 2008, at the same time Apple was recalling the adapters:
    - MacBook 13" 2006
    - MacBook 13" 2007
    - MacBook Pro 15" Glossy 2007/2008
    - MacBook Pro 17" 2007/2008

    Tech Note TS1977 from 2008 (last updated 5 May 2010):
    http://support.apple.com/kb/TS1713?viewlocale=en_US

    The reason "2007" is mentioned in the lawsuit is to fault Apple before it had a chance to investigate the claims, since the fire was after the product was recalled. The insurance company (owned by Chubb) wants a big out-of-court settlement, not $75k. This is the reason for the lawsuit. Remember, US$75k is about 1 month of legal fees.

  1. Cronocide

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    Hey

    I've been trying to figure out creative ways to make my old Dell laptop explode. Could you be more specific on how to make the power adapter melt? Thanks for the help!

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    Re: Those adapters were recalled already! Relax!

    Hilarious!
    The "complaints" were in 2007.
    Apple recalled the adapters in 2008.


    No, they weren't. Apple doesn't RECALL products. Recall involves informing the users of said product that there is a defect, and they should contact the company for a replacement/reimbursement.

    What Apple does is a 'Replacement Program'. What's the difference? Easy, a replacement program involves not telling the users anything up front, but when they call to complain about an issue, then you say "Oh, sure, we'll replace that.".

    That's a key point. You cannot just call Apple and say "My MacBook is on the list. Replace my MagSafe." They will refuse. They will only replace anything if it shows the symptoms they claim. For my PPC G5 tower, I couldn't just get my processors or mobo replaced because of a known defect. I had to wait for the defect to appear before I could take it in and get it fixed.

    Oh, and Apple's replacement policy only tends to last three years past purchase, which means all that Apple is doing is providing the users with free 'AppleCare' for that particular issue, in case they don't have AppleCare. If that MagSafe showed issues this week, they couldn't take it in and get it replaced because it was 'out of warranty' by that point.

    Tech Note TS1977 from 2008 (last updated 5 May 2010):
    http://support.apple.com/kb/TS1713?viewlocale=en_US


    Show me the part of the tech note that says anything about a recall. It goes on and on about troubleshooting your issues (as if to make the user think it may be their fault, not Apples). Then, at the very end, they mention you may be eligible for a replacement.

    The reason "2007" is mentioned in the lawsuit is to fault Apple before it had a chance to investigate the claims, since the fire was after the product was recalled.

    No, it's to indicate that people had been mentioning it since 2007. Which means it was a known problem for about a year before the fire.

    And, like I said, Apple did NOT recall the adapter. Apple didn't even warn their users. They put up a tech note saying "This is what you can do" and maybe you would see a blurb about it if you sit around reading Mac sites. But most normal users would never know there was even a potential for a problem with the adapter until they saw it.

    The insurance company (owned by Chubb) wants a big out-of-court settlement, not $75k. This is the reason for the lawsuit. Remember, US$75k is about 1 month of legal fees.

    No, they want $75k and legal fees. That's it. If they wanted real money, they would have filed a class action lawsuit and sued apple for 25 million.

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