Apple Hit With Lawsuit Claiming the Apple Watch Is Unsafe

Apple Hit With Lawsuit Claiming the Apple Watch Is Unsafe
Photo: Victoria Song/Gizmodo

The Apple Watch is once again at the centre of a lawsuit.

A class-action lawsuit filed on Wednesday alleges the Apple Watch poses a dangerous safety hazard to customers due to a battery swelling defect that can cause damage to the screen. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit claim Apple failed to provide enough space for the battery in case of swelling, and as a result, the watch screen can detach, crack, or shatter.

The four customers who filed the suit aren’t taking issue with bloating batteries, but rather, the placement of the battery and its ability to cause the screen to break away from the watch face. The complaint says Apple knew about the defect but failed to disclose the issue to customers.

Knowing the battery inside the Watch can suddenly swell, Apple allocated insufficient room inside the Watch for it to freely expand without affecting the Watch screen face and/or failed to incorporate a protective guard to keep it from making contact with the Watch screen face, and/or otherwise failed to prevent detachment, shattering, or cracking of the Watch screen face.”

The swelling creates considerable upward pressure on the Apple Watch face, allegedly causing detachment, shattering, and/or cracking of the screen through no fault of the wearer. When this happens, it exposes razor-sharp edges and leads to operational failure and/or injuries resulting from unintended bodily contact with the detached, shattered, or cracked screen.

The group seeks to represent anyone who owns any model and size of the Apple Watch Series 1 through Series 6 and Series SE (this year’s models aren’t included). Plaintiffs are seeking “actual, general, special, incidental, statutory, punitive, and consequential damages” along with the cost of replacement.

Described in the complaint are multiple situations where a cracked Apple Watch screen purportedly caused injury to its wearer. In one retelling, complainant Chris Smith was wearing an Apple Watch Series 3 while riding a golf cart when the screen detached and sliced into his forearm, cutting a vein and causing “substantial personal injury.” Included in the complaint is a photo of a deep gaping wound.

If this lawsuit sounds familiar it’s because Apple was hit with a similar complaint in 2019. A few years ago, New Jersey resident Gina Priano-Keyser filed a class-action lawsuit against Apple, claiming several Apple Watch models suffer from defects that cause the watch’s battery to swell and damage the screen “through no fault of the wearer.”

In that case, a judge dismissed most claims, ruling the defect wasn’t caused by faulty batteries. The complainant eventually dismissed the lawsuit.

A year before, Apple had instituted a policy for Apple Watch Series 2 and Series 3 owners to replace their device for free after it experienced damage from expanding batteries. “Apple has determined that, under very rare circumstances, a crack may form along the rounded edge of the screen,” an Apple support page reads.

We have reached out to Apple and will update this article we hear back. You can read the full suit embedded below.