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Apple just hit with class action lawsuit over Apple Watch screen injuries

Apple Watch 7
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Apple Watch owners have a new concern to watch out for. A new class-action lawsuit alleges that Apple was aware of a defect that leads to batteries in its watch swelling and then damaging the screen, which "causes detachment, shattering, or cracking of the Watch screen face."

As reported by Bloomberg (opens in new tab), the case of Chris Smith, Cheryl Smith, Karen Smithson, Jason Roush and Corey Pomroy vs. Apple Inc., was filed to the US District Court in the Northern District of California on Thursday (Dec. 9), and covers all buyers of the first generation (Apple Watch Series 0) through the recently-released Apple Watch Series 6 (including, of course, the Apple Watch SE).

The lawsuit specifies that the flaw isn't related to any "normal degradation of the lithium-ion battery" but in fact due to its placement inside the housing of the Apple Watch. 

The suit charges Apple with being aware of this flaw, and that while "Knowing the battery inside the Watch can suddenly swell, Apple allocated insufficient room inside the Watch for it to freely expand without affecting the Watch screen face and/or failed to incorporate a protective guard to keep it from making contact with the Watch screen face, and/or otherwise failed to prevent detachment, shattering, or cracking of the Watch screen face."

The plaintiffs are demanding "actual, general, special, incidental, statutory, punitive, and consequential damages" as well as "all costs attributable to remedying or replacing Apple Watches."

Those who can remember what things were like back in 2018 will note that this isn't the first class action lawsuit in the Apple Watch's history. And, in fact, this new suit sounds familiar when compared to the previous suit.

Kenneth Sciacca of Colorado alleged that all Apple Watches through to the Series 3 had a flaw that caused "the screens on the Watches to crack, shatter, or detach from the body of the Watch." The suit did not blame the issue on the Apple Watch's battery swelling, but it does mention the swelling issue, along with Apple's acknowledgement of said issue (opens in new tab) in Series 2 watches. 

And as someone with the Apple Watch Series 5 on my wrist right now, this is something I will hopefully not think about too much in the coming days.

The lawsuit was uploaded to Scribd (opens in new tab), and you can read it below.

Henry is a senior editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.

  • varase
    Not sure what they can do about it ... all devices with Lithium Ion batteries are subject to this occasionally.

    I had it happen with an iPhone and even a laptop - took 'em in and they replaced 'em.

    Manufacturers put batteries in devices and sometimes they expand. If it cracks the glass you don't continue to use the device - you take it in or call for service. At least the battery case contained the contents and the battery didn't explode or catch fire.

    Did this lawsuit come out of Texas?
    Reply