Apple Sued for an Apartment Fire That Took a Man’s Life, the Lawsuit Blames iPad

BY Mahit Huilgol

Published 24 Jun 2019

We have reported about several incidents where the iPad or the MacBook battery has caught fire. In a recent turn of events an apartment and Insurance company have jointly sued Apple. The complaint alleges that a faulty iPad battery is to be blamed for the fire which took a New Jersey man’s life.

The lawsuit accused Apple of “ultrahazardous responsibility”  and adds that iPads “were inherently dangerous and were capable of igniting and causing a fire, even if properly in use within the tablet.” Bradley Ireland died after a fire in his apartment on 22 February 2017.

According to the lawsuit, the iPad is the cause of the fire and it “was unreasonably dangerous and unsafe for its intended purpose by reason of defects in its design and/or its manufacture.” It is worth noting that Apple has recently announced voluntary recall for select 15- inch MacBook Pro models. Apple is concerned that the 15-inch MacBook Pro models may overheat due to a faulty battery.

Our Take

We have all heard numerous incidents of lithium-ion batteries causing a fire. The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 debacle was perhaps one of the worst in the history of the tech industry. Last year Amazon recalled hundreds of thousands of lithium-ion power packs.

This raises a very important concern, are lithium-ion batteries inherently prone to overheat and cause a fire?  Well, the Galaxy Note 7 investigation squarely puts the blame on manufacturing defects (as do reports in most of the other cases). Since batteries are becoming more advanced and the devices more compact, manufacturers are trying to pack more power in a relatively smaller package.

The cathode and the anode on the lithium-ion batteries are separated by a thin polyethylene separator. In compact batteries, the separator is thinner and is prone to a short circuit, which is apparently one of the biggest reason for causing a fire. That being said, variables like electricity supply, genuine charger and ventilation play a major role in such cases. As consumers, we can adopt certain practices like using certified chargers in the interest of our safety.

[via TheRegister]