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Apple iPad torched this guy's home, lawsuit claims

Lawyers hope to recover repair cost shelled out by insurer

A defective iPad sparked a house fire this time last year, a lawsuit filed against Apple has claimed.

The legal challenge [PDF] was filed this month in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, and this week removed to a federal district court in east of that US state.

The complaint alleges that "a fire erupted at the subject premises as a direct result of one or more defects and/or malfunction in the subject iPad related to the electrical/battery system in the [device]."

Allstate Insurance paid more than $142,000 to repair the fire damage to the Milford home of Michael Macaluso, and so now law firm de Luca Levine has been hired to sue Apple to reimburse the insurer for its payout.

The complaint contends Macaluso had not modified his iPad, misused, or altered it beyond anticipated handling and operation intended by Apple. The fire, it's said, is the result of the "defective and unreasonably dangerous condition" of the iPad when it was sold.

The Register asked Apple for comment, and the iPad maker did not reply. Nor did an attorney representing Macaluso.

A similar lawsuit alleging wrongful death was filed against Apple in 2019 on behalf of plaintiff Julia Ireland Meo, a resident of New Jersey, whose father died in February, 2017, in an apartment fire said to have been started by an iPad's faulty battery.


Apple sued over fondleslab death blaze: iPad battery blamed for deadly New Jersey apartment fire


The owner of the apartment complex where the fire occurred, Union Management, through its insurance company Greater New York Mutual, subsequently filed a second lawsuit against Apple seeking to recoup its payout. The New Jersey iPad lawsuits are still being litigated and remain unresolved.

Apple's iPhone has also been accused of starting unwanted fires. In 2017, insurer State Farm and client Xai Thao, a resident of Wisconsin, sued Apple alleging that the iPhone 4s had a defective battery.

That case, which had been approved for discovery and a trial scheduled for February, 2019, was dismissed in December, 2018. This was done by mutual agreement of both parties with each side bearing its own court costs, a denouement that often means an undisclosed settlement has been reached.

There have been other iPhone fire claims as well.

Also, other hardware makers have experienced similar issues, notably Samsung and its Galaxy Note 7 device, which in 2016 managed to get banned from airplanes due to its proclivity for combustion.

Lithium-ion batteries are known to be more volatile than most would prefer. ®

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