Exploding iPod touch in child’s pocket causes 2nd degree burns

Cincinnati (OH) – A complaint with jury demand has been filed by Lynette Antrobus, “Natural Guardian, Mother, and Next Friend” on behalf of a minor identified as “A.V.”, in United States District Court, Southern District of Ohio, Western Division. The case relates to a claim under 28 U.S.C. § 1332, that “[The plaintiff] immediately stood up and realized his Apple iTouch had exploded and caught on fire in his pocket.” The case calls for $75,000 in compensatory damages, with additional punitive fines, and is filed against Apple Computer, John Does, “Names Unknown”, “Unknown Agents, Employees, Associations and or Independent Contractors of Defendants”.

The “iTouch” (as it’s referrred to in the lawsuit) was purchased on November 17, 2008 from Apple at a brick-and-mortar store at 7875 Montgomery Road, Cincinnati, OH. The product was an Apple iPod touch 16 GB, model/part no: MB53LL/A, Serial Number 1A841VEB203, with a one-year warranty running through November 16, 2009.

It is claimed the case that the iTouch first exploded and then caught fire on December 4, 2008 while A.V., a minor, was attending school in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. His story goes like this, according to the court filing:

He was sitting at his desk with the iTouch in his pant’s pocket. He “heard a loud pop and immediately felt a burning sensation on his leg.” He “immediately stood up and realized his Apple iTouch had exploded and caught on fire in his pocket.” He “immediately ran to the bathroom and took off his burning pants with the assistance of a friend.” The iTouch burned through A.V.’s pant’s pocket and “melted through his Nylon/Spandex underwear, burning his leg.”

A.V. was taken to a doctor for medical treatment. He was diagnosed to have second degree burns to his leg, and “was otherwise caused pain and suffering, resulting in serious injuries to [A.V.], including but not limited to the second degree burns to his leg and the incurring medial and hospital expenses in an amount in excess of $15.00.”

The filing reads, “He continues to suffer from both physical and mental conditions which will cause him to suffer pain, mental distress, emotional distress, and otherwise for the rest of his life.” In addition, “[A.V.] lost the value of [his] clothing and the Apple iTouch in an amount in excess of $400.00…”

The case goes on to list several members involved in the case, including clerks at the Apple Store, alleged Apple employees who “negligently failed to inform Plaintiffs, that the Apple iTouch would need to be inspected for defects” and “failed and neglected to properly inspect and/or test the subject Apple iTouch and its component parts prior to selling it to [A.V.]”, along with Apple’s failure to issue “sheets or warnings, to assure that the Applie iTouch was safe to use by [A.V.]”, and several more.

The case is filed as: “Jurisdiction in [Ohio Federal District] Court is established by diversity of citizenship and damages in excess of $75,000 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332 by virtue of the fact that at all times relevant hereto Plaintiffs were and continue to be residents of and citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Defendant Apple Computer was and continues to be a resident of and citizen of and to have its principal place of business in the State of California and the underlying consumer transaction and purchase took place in Hamilton County, Ohio.”

The $75,000 is for compensatory damages, and there is also included in the filing a request for “punitive damages in an amount to be determined at trial, but in excess of [$75,000]…”.

The case was filed on March 11, 2009 (last Wednesday), and is identified as “Antrobus et al v. Apple Computer, Inc. et al”. The Japan division of Apple payed an unknown settlement fee to a young man in 2008 after he suffered burns from his Mac laptop battery, which also reportedly caught fire.

Download CASE NO: 1:09-cv-170 (14-page PDF), see the Justia filing, along with the case summary.