Over the past few years, Apple has been on the receiving end of more lawsuits than any other tech company in the US. As you might expect, a good number of these lawsuits are frivolous and baseless, but a lawsuit recently filed against Apple by Great Northern Insurance not only seems to have a genuine cause of action, but is quite interesting to boot.
Filed in mid-November, the Great Northern Insurance Company is suing Apple over restitution it had to pay out to the victims of a 2008 Connecticut house fire that was allegedly caused by one of Apple’s MagSafe adapters.
The lawsuit points out that the fire marshal investigating the blaze determined that the fire was caused by “external system components” of a laptop present in the home at the time.
Alleging that the MagSafe adapter was negligently designed and manufactured, attorneys for Great Northern Insurance point out that in the years preceding the blaze, Apple was on the receiving end of numerous complaints indicating that Apple’s MagSafe adapters were prone to sparking and burning when plugged in.
In keeping with the legal requirements to prove negligence, the lawsuit emphasizes that Apple either knew, or should have known that use of its MagSafe adapter in a reasonable manner could foreseeably lead to it sparking up, starting a fire, and subjecting property to an “unreasonable risk of harm.
Concern over Apple’s MagSafe adapter is nothing new. Back in 2009, Apple was hit with a lawsuit seeking class action status alleging that Apple’s magnetic power connector was subject to sparking, and forced a number of consumers to buy replacements.
One year earlier, in 2008, Apple admitted that some MagSafe adapters might begin to fray near the base of the plug. As such, Apple agreed to replace defective and frayed adapters at no cost at any authorized Apple service center or Apple Store.
Going back a little bit further, Apple even experienced problems with the power adapters it used on its line of iBook and PowerBook laptops back in the day. As you might expect, those power adapters were also prone to fraying and burning, and resulted in a class-action lawsuit that Apple ultimately settled in May of 2008. As part of the settlement, anyone who purchased one of the power adapters in question became eligible for a cash settlement anywhere between $25 and $79 a person.
And as a final piece of irony, it is somewhat comical that Apple calls it MagSafe.