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Apple Sued over Exploding iPod Touch

Is it an iPod Touch, or an iBomb? Apple is now facing a lawsuit regarding a boy's iPod Touch exploding in his pants. Is he sure that was Apple's device?

It's probably only natural that a caption reading "ipod Touch explodes in boy's pants" generates a whole slew of jokes, and a few will probably even pop up here in the comments section below. And while initially they'll be funny, there's nothing really funny about a 15-year-old teenage boy receiving second-degree burns because of a faulty Apple product. Yet that's what happened: a 16 GB Apple iPod Touch supposedly exploded and caught fire while in the boy's pocket, thus burning his leg. It certainly gives the slogan "burning a hole in your pocket" a whole new meaning.

According to the lawsuit (PDF) filed Thursday in the Southern District of Ohio, the teen was attending school in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and sitting at his desk; the iPod Touch was tucked away deep down in his pants pocket, turned off. The teen heard a loud pop and immediately began to feel a burning sensation on his leg. He quickly jumped up out of his seat to find that the iPod Touch has exploded and caught on fire. He then darted to the nearest bathroom and took off his pants "with the assistance of a friend." Apparently, the device had not only burned through his pants pocket, but melted through his Nylon/Spandex underwear, burning his leg. His mother was called in immediately to rush him directly to the doctor.

According to the lawsuit, the doctor declared the boy's wounds as second-degree burns. "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," the lawsuit adds. The mother adds more turmoil to the pot, claiming that the sales clerks in the local Apple store didn't warn her of the potential danger, that the device could cause some serious bodily harm. The employees, more than likely unaware of any harmful side effects of using an Apple iPod Touch, now face gross recklessness and negligence charges due to malicious and fraudulent salesmanship. Oh, and the entire Apple company faces the same charges as well. That claim makes just about as much sense as saying that every McDonald's employee is guilty for gross recklessness and negligence because a customer burned their tongue on a hot apple pie.

Currently the Plaintiff's mother is suing Apple and the ten unnamed retail employees at a local Apple store for $225,000 in damages comprised of $75,000 for compensatory damages, $75,000 for punitive damages, and $75,000 for legal fees and "special damages." Naturally, Apple declined to comment on the situation, only saying that it does not comment on pending litigation. But as pointed out by CNET News, mobile device explosions are nothing new, however most of the time, they're caused by cheap batteries inserted by the user. It's certainly possible the teen's iPod Touch suffered the same fate if he modded the device with a different battery. Still, until more information comes to the surface, the device's flamboyant malfunction can only be speculated.

According to Apple, the iPod Touch is the "funnest iPod ever." It's probably safe to assume that the burned teen disagrees. Ultimately, this probably won't be the last we hear on this "Hot iPod Incident," as investigators probe into the actual device to determine what caused the fire. The plaintiff better hope that he didn't "jailbreak" his iPod Touch, as that would spell trouble for his defense and possibly terminate the lawsuit.

Note to self: do not put the iPod Touch in pocket.

  • scook9
    the joys of lithium batteries. this is why they dont belong in hyrbid cars yet.
    Reply
  • NuclearShadow
    If the batteries were the cause of such then I don't see how the lawsuit could be against Apple. However if the ipod is at fault then I can certainly understand the lawsuit and honestly am surprised they aren't asking for much more. As for as the gross recklessness and negligence charges that's just bullshit.

    Reply
  • scook9
    it has to be the batteries that exploded.....what else could in an ipod? the screen? he probably dropped it and messed up the battery or something, lithium batteries are sensitive - thats why they always have rigid plastic cases (like cell phone batteries). The ones in the ipod are soft cells, they rely on the ipod body to provide the rigid structure.
    Reply
  • 1) lol@ipod exploding in pocket. Despite the author's claim, yes, it is funny. If it happened to me I'd want to laugh it off best as I could too, so meh.

    2) lol@lawsuit... a lawsuit I can understand (kind of... given the number of the devices they must move it's tough to say they've been negligent when *ONE* explodes, but whatever), the scope and damages though... wow. Mental and emotional distress for the rest of his life? I'd call it a pretty decent story to tell for the rest of his life. Suing the retail employees takes it from ridiculous to absolutely hysterical.

    3) I'm aware a jailbreak probably would ruin whatever chance they've got at winning, but that doesn't mean it should. If Apple didn't have ridiculous restrictions on what their devices can do it wouldn't have needed to be jailbroken in the first place.
    Reply
  • mavroxur
    Why SHOULD the sales clerk at the Apple store warn her? Any electronic device has the potential to fail, sometimes with undesirable results. I dont recall getting a warning from the girl at the cell phone store when I got my new phone.
    Reply
  • Shadow703793
    scook9it has to be the batteries that exploded.....what else could in an ipod? the screen? he probably dropped it and messed up the battery or something, lithium batteries are sensitive - thats why they always have rigid plastic cases (like cell phone batteries). The ones in the ipod are soft cells, they rely on the ipod body to provide the rigid structure.Exactly. This reminds me of the exploding laptops lol.
    Reply
  • Mathos
    Let's see, now whats the chance that the boy is lying about the device having been turned off 50/50? My guess is he had the device in his pocket, on and running, listening to music while he should of been listening to his teacher or doing class work.

    Lets see, the most likely cause would be that the device was on and being used, which would cause the device to generate heat. If the boy was wearing tight or none loose clothing, that would amplify things. Which would seem to be the case when hearing the nature of said burns. The heat being generated and held into the device very likely either caused some caps or voltage regulation units to blow, which would explain the loud pop.

    This applies since while not in use or turned off, the batteries aren't being drained or charged. Batteries only produce heat while being charged or discharged. Either that or the boy would of had to have done something to the device to damage it to the point of making the battery unstable.

    Also a note of reference. Second degree burns are not overly severe. They're defined as any burn where the skin is red, irritated and blisters are forming (lay mans terms). So, sort of like if you touch a hot frying pan, and it causes the spot to blister, or say if you've ever had a really severe sunburn (i have, it's not fun when the top 1/3 of your body is sunburned and covered in blisters). Which means there will 95% likely be no permanent scarring.

    God, this is like people suing mcdonalds because they spilled coffee on their laps while they were driving, and it was hot. And people say we don't have problems with frivolous lawsuits.
    Reply
  • sacre
    mental/physical issues, mental distress, etc... WHAT? are you KIDDING ME? Kids at 15 set off fire and explosions all the time, a simple "pop...ow my leg" isn't going to scar the kid for the rest of his life.. this is such a poor poor reason to sue.. just stick with "it damaged my body and could have done more" not the whole mental issue lifetime bit..

    jesus christ (excuse my language) this is insane man, mental distress.. give it a rest.
    Reply
  • Maxor127
    Yeah, the line about "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" is funny. What a ridiculous statement. I guess when I was little and burned my hand on a hot microwave pizza and got a huge blister, that I should be traumatized by microwaves and pizzas now.
    Reply
  • teh_boxzor
    FAIL at suing the salesman....its like suing a car salesman because you got in an accident and the guy didn't tell you that you might get in a car accident when you bought the car.
    Reply