Back in August, reports began appearing from iPhone 6 owners describing an apparently latent manufacturing issue that causes a flickering bar to appear at the top of the screen and the display to become unresponsive or less responsive to touch.
A week later, three iPhone 6 owners filed a complaint with the U.S. District Court of Northern California after their devices presented symptoms of the problem – dubbed "touch disease" by repair website iFixit – which Apple has yet to publicly acknowledge.
Yesterday, Motherboard reported that lawyers who filed the class action complaint earlier this fall have now signed on three additional law firms to support their case, while an additional class action lawsuit related to the issue has been filed against Apple in Utah.
Richard McCune, an attorney in the California case, said he has been contacted by 10,000 people asking to join the suit, which accuses Apple of violating the state's consumer fraud statutes, negligent misrepresentation, breach of implied warranty, unjust enrichment, and other consumer act violations.
The "touch disease" flaw is thought to be caused by the touchscreen controller chips soldered to the iPhone's logic board losing contact after a period of normal usage, because of Apple's failure to incorporate a metal shield. So far, Apple has refused to repair the out-of-warranty iPhones without charge when the defect manifests. Worse, replacement refurbished handsets costing owners $329 have reportedly shown symptoms of the same problem within days or weeks of being issued.
Motherboard claims five separate current and former Apple Geniuses have confirmed that Apple is aware of the problem but will not tell customers about it.
However, Apple's filed response to the most recent Utah complaint appears at least to signal a legal acknowledgement of the issue and the company's lawyers have requested an "extension of time to respond to the Complaint" and asked that the Utah and California cases be combined into one.
Given the similarity between the [Utah] and [California] actions, it would unnecessarily tax judicial resources if these actions were to proceed in separate class action lawsuits—especially where the [Utah] and [California] Plaintiffs purport to represent the same putative class of all consumers who purchased an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus.On Friday, McCune filed an updated lawsuit against Apple that includes several new plaintiffs and formally adds the three separate law firms to the legal battle. "Each of the firms (who had their own clients) brings strength to the case, including Stephen Larson of Larson O'Brien, who is a former Federal Judge," McCune told Motherboard. "With these firms working with us, we believe it gives us the best chance of obtaining a positive result in the case for the owners of the phones."