Judges consolidate 12 iPhone 3G cases against Apple, AT&T

The cases alleging dropped calls, sluggish speeds, moved to Calif.

Apple may have moved on to the iPhone 3GS this year, but the wheels of justice, which turn slower, are still focused on 2008's older smartphone.

Last week, a panel of federal judges consolidated a dozen separate cases that consumers had filed against Apple, claiming that the company's iPhone 3G constantly dropped calls, had trouble connecting to AT&T's network and was significantly slower than advertised.

In an order dated July 1, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, a seven-judge group that decides whether civil cases in separate federal districts should be coordinated or consolidated, bundled the 12 cases together and shunted them all to a California federal court.

"All [12] actions involve common factual questions arising from the performance of Apple's iPhone 3G on AT&T's 3G network. Specifically, the actions share allegations that Apple and, where named, AT&T misrepresented to the public the speed, strength and performance of the iPhone 3G on AT&T's 3G network," the order read.

Some of the dozen cases were filed within weeks of the iPhone 3G's debut. One of the first was submitted in August 2008 by Birmingham resident Jessica Smith, who said that Apple's "Twice as fast. Half the price" marketing slogan was misleading, and called the smartphone the Defective iPhone 3G throughout her lawsuit.

Two weeks later, Eulardi Tanseco of New Jersey joined the legal fray, accusing Apple and AT&T of breaking consumer antifraud, warranty, breach-of-contract and fraud statutes. Like Smith, Tanseco claimed that Apple's iPhone 3G promises were bogus. "Apple has wrongfully and unfairly deceived its customers by advertising and selling the alleged newer and improved iPhone 3G with the express and implied promise that this consumer product was a reliable and efficient mobile phone," his lawsuit read.

Both Smith and Tanseco asked that their cases be granted class-action status, a move that, if successful, would open the lawsuits to potentially millions of consumers who had bought the iPhone 3G in the U.S., where AT&T is the exclusive mobile carrier.

Apple has tried to stifle some of the cases. Last October, for example, it asked a federal judge to dismiss Smith's lawsuit because she had not asked the company to repair her phone or refund her money. Apple's motion to dismiss the case was later granted, but Smith's lawyers filed an amended complaint in January 2009.

Other cases that will be consolidated include six more from California, and one each from Florida, New Jersey, New York and Texas. The combined lawsuits will be heard in a court of the Northern District of California, which is based in San Francisco. "The headquarters of the common defendant, Apple, are located within this district," the order said. "Accordingly, relevant witnesses and documents will likely be found there."

Smith, Tanseco and the others named in the 12 lawsuits are not the only iPhone 3G customers who got hot under the collar last year. Owners, in fact, started complaining about 3G network problems within days of the iPhone's July 11, 2008 debut, and flooded Apple's support forum with stories of difficulties making calls weak signals, dropped calls and slower-than-promised data download speeds.

Apple delivered multiple software updates for the iPhone in 2008 that it said addressed connection and call issues, but for the most part customers said that the fixes had not solved their reception problems.

Some consumers are currently steamed about the newer iPhone 3GS, and older models upgraded to the iPhone 3.0 software, because they say their phones' batteries are draining too fast.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Appleat&tiPhone

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?