Plaintiff provided no 'specific examples' in class action against Apple, judge rules

By Kyla Asbury | Aug 26, 2014

SAN JOSE, Calif. (Legal Newsline) - A class action lawsuit against Apple for its allegedly "clearly defective" Maps application has been dismissed by a California federal judge.

"Plaintiff's complaint alleges that through its marketing and advertising campaigns for iOS6 and Apple Maps, Apple misleadingly represented that Apple Maps was an accurate, innovative and versatile navigational tool, when in fact Apple knew that Apple Maps was underdeveloped and inaccurate," the Wednesday dismissal order states.

The plaintiff brought seven counts against Apple, three of which alleged breach of express and implied warranties. The remaining four counts stem from allegations that Apple engaged in fraudulent conduct by misrepresenting Apple Maps’ functionality to its consumers.

"Plaintiff provides no specific examples of Apple Maps errors, nor does plaintiff plead any exact dates or locations at which these errors occurred," the complaint states. "Plaintiff claims that Apple Maps is 'clearly defective' and provides examples of erroneous location marking, but does not claim that she herself was led astray by these markings."

Apple contended that all counts should be dismissed because the plaintiff failed to state a claim.

On June 11, 2012, former Apple executive Scott Forstall announced the launch of Apple Maps, a navigational application that could perform on any device running the then-latest version of Apple's mobile operating system, according to the document.

"Apple Maps proved to be underdeveloped and lacking the amount of data necessary to provide consistently accurate mapping," the document states. "Consumers complained that the application mislabeled landmarks, streets, and addresses, and led them to inaccurate locations."

In response, on Sept. 25, 2012, Apple issued a statement saying that the company was "continuously improving" Maps and "appreciates all the customer feedback."

On Sept. 28, 2012, Apple CEO Tim Short posted a letter apologizing for Apple Maps’ shortfalls and suggesting that customers use other applications or websites while Apple worked to improve the application.

The plaintiff, Nancy Romine Minkler, owns two Apple devices, an iPhone 5 and an iPad, although she does not state when she purchased either product.

Minkler claimed her decision to purchase the iPhone 5 was influenced by the various marketing materials describing the innovation, accuracy and versatility of Apple Maps, including statements made by Forstall in June 2012 touting iOS 6 as a "major initiative" and advertisements on the Apple website describing the "non-stop work" of Apple that led to "a number of improvements to Maps."

She further claimed had she known that Apple Maps was defective, she "would not have purchased [the iPhone 5], and certainly she would not have paid as much for it."

Minkler alleges that approximately two days after she purchased the iPhone 5, Apple Maps improperly labeled numerous streets, buildings, and landmarks, as well as led her to several incorrect locations.

On Nov. 15, Minkler filed her class action complaint against Apple, alleging breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty, violations of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, violations of the Consumer Legal Remedies Act, violation of California False Advertising Law, violation of the California Unfair Competition Law and negligent misrepresentation, among other claims.

On March 3, 2014, Apple filed its motion to dismiss all counts.

"Here, while Plaintiff specifies the date, speaker and statement, plaintiff has failed to identify any specific statement by Apple that expressly indicates that Apple Maps would always work flawlessly and without error," the dismissal order states. "In addition, plaintiff has not identified with particularity the actual defect she experienced. Instead, Plaintiff only alleges that Apple Maps led her to incorrect locations."

Because the plaintiff has not pled with particularity the circumstances surrounding Apple’s fraudulent behavior, she has failed to meet the 9(b) pleading standards for her claims sounding in fraud and the court will dismiss the CLRA, FAL, and UCL counts against Apple, according to the dismissal.

The plaintiff was represented by Gregory D. Wolflick of Wolflick & Simpson; and Donald W. Steward and J. Paul Lynn of Stewart & Stewart PC.

Apple was represented by Paul J. Hall, Alec Cierny and Joseph Collins of DLA Piper LLP.

The case was assigned to District Judge Edward J. Davila.

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California case number: 5:13-cv-05332

From Legal Newsline: Kyla Asbury can be reached at

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