Apple knew it was selling defective MacBook displays, judge concludes


When Apple introduced its controversial MacBook Pro redesign in 2016, the company probably didn’t know it was setting itself up to get sued — but not only is a class-action lawsuit now underway for their infamous butterfly keyboards, it’s looking likely there’ll be a second one for their notoriously fragile display cables, too. Judge Edward Davila has decided to let the “flexgate” lawsuit go forward, ruling that Apple should have known that they would fail and yet kept selling them anyhow.

“The court finds that the allegations of pre-release testing in combination with the allegations of substantial customer complaints are sufficient to show that Apple had exclusive knowledge of the alleged defect,” the judge wrote (via Law360 and 9to5Mac). You can read the full order at the bottom of this post.

To see what the issue looked like, just take a peek at our picture atop this post; it’s sometimes called the “stage light” issue because of how the cable damage would produce those dark spots.

Part of the flexgate controversy is around how Apple addressed the issue when it first got publicity in late 2018 — first by silently swapping a new, slightly longer cable into newer MacBooks, and only opening up one of its typical free repair programs months after 15,000 users signed a petition and it was called out in the press. The company’s been a lot more responsive with issues ever since, such as with this free battery replacement program for a small number of those 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro laptops that won’t charge anymore.

Unlike the butterfly keyboard suit, the flexgate one doesn’t appear to be a certified class-action lawsuit yet — but there are now nine different plaintiffs lined up in this single case, and the judge is inviting them to submit a new amended complaint. We’ll be watching to see where it goes from there.



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