Kyla Asbury Nov. 10, 2014, 1:20pm

SAN JOSE, Calif. (Legal Newsline) - Three MacBook Pro owners have filed a class action lawsuit against Apple Inc. claiming the laptop computer's graphics were not up to par.

Zachary Book, Donald Cowart and John Manners claim an issue with Apple's 2011 series of MacBook Pros had graphics card failures that they and other class members experienced, according to a complaint filed Oct. 24 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

The plaintiffs claim Apple failed to reimburse owners for out-of-pocket repairs that could cost anywhere from $350 to $600.

"Aiming to control the lucrative market for high-end laptop computers used by consumers and professionals, in 2011, Apple introduced new fifteen- and seventeen-inch MacBook Pro laptops powered by two graphic processing chips," the complaint states.

The plaintiffs claim just days after these laptops went on sale, consumers worldwide began reporting to Apple that the laptops suffered from random bouts of graphical distortion, system instability and system failures.

"Apple’s customers paid a premium for their products and were promised, and came to expect, the highest levels of performance, graphical richness, and durability," the complaint states. "Apple, however, has failed to remedy the inherent graphics defect in the 2011 MacBook Pros, causing tens of thousands of frustrated and disappointed customers to air their grievances online on websites like Facebook, Reddit, and Apple’s own discussion forums."

The plaintiffs claim days after the 2011 MacBook Pros went on sale, a firestorm of complaints erupted on Apple’s discussion forums, and Apple stores were flooded with consumers whose brand-new laptops were experiencing graphical issues, including severe screen distortion, pixilation, graphical artifacts and ghosting, that often precipitated the system shutting down or failing completely.

"The graphical issues and system failures with the 2011 MacBook Pro laptops were nearly identical to problems that plagued the 2008 MacBook Pro laptops, which were eventually recalled," the complaint states. "Yet rather than issuing a recall for the 2011 MacBook Pro 'aptops, Apple hurriedly release a software patch intended to address graphical stability in the 2011 MacBook Pros."

The software patch was ineffective because, as Apple knew from its experience with the 2008 MacBook Pro laptops, the defect at issue is physical and cannot be fixed with a software patch, according to the suit.

While the laptops were under Apple’s one-year warranty, Apple would, in some cases, replace consumers’ entire logic boards in response to the graphics defect, according to the suit. A new logic board, however, was no fix because the new logic boards used the same lead-free solder to connect the AMD GPU, it says.

"As a result, the laptops again failed in time, sometimes in a matter of days," the complaint states. "Scores of owners reported that even after receiving new logic boards, their systems continued to exhibit the graphics defect and crash or fail, turning their computers into $3,000 paper weights. Now, even years outside of the warranty period, a replacement logic board is still the only option that Apple offers for its inherently defective product."

The plaintiffs claim apple has also failed to reimburse owners for out-of-pocket repairs and has surprisingly ignored the claims of the thousands of customers who, in many cases, complained directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook and paid for the out of pocket repairs when they failed to obtain a response from Apple.

Apple violated the California Unfair Competition Law, the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, breached implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose, breached express warranties, fraudulent concealment/nondisclosure and failed to warn under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs are seeking class certification and compensatory damages. They are represented by Michael F. Ram of Ram, Olson, Cereghino & Kopczynski LLP; and Gary E. Mason, Steven N. Berk and Esfand Nafisi of Whitfield Bryson & Mason LLP.

The case is assigned to District Judge Nathanael M. Cousins.

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California case number: 5:14-cv-04746

From Legal Newsline: Kyla Asbury can be reached at

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