April 4, 2012
by: Richard E. Shevitz , Attorney
Technology has made great strides in the past several years and has given us many tools and gadgets to make our lives better. As a result, society has become more efficient and more connected than ever thanks to these advances. But what happens when something doesn’t live up to the representation that is made to us?
The recent class action lawsuit against Apple regarding the Siri personal assistant brings claims on behalf of iPhone 4S owners based on important features of that personal assistant that do not work as advertised. The device, which is more expensive than other iPhone products, is designed to perform tasks based on voice commands such as turning a voice message into a text message, dialing phone numbers, scheduling appointments, and providing directions.
The lawsuit claims that Siri repeatedly failed to recognize requests or failed to execute customer requests properly, such as giving directions. The complaint filed in federal court in California claims that the assistant fails to perform a range of functions as advertised in television commercials and in other advertisements in order to market the pricier phone, such as making appointments, finding restaurants, and even teaching users how to tie a tie.
Class action lawsuits provide for claims on behalf of consumers involving matters that may not be economically worth bringing in an individual case to be brought together in one lawsuit in order to obtain a recovery on behalf of the consumers for manufacturing defects or for deceptive advertising.
In order for a case to become a class action there are a few requirements that need to be met. First, the class must be represented by one or a few individuals who bring the suit on behalf of the entire group of people who have been harmed. Additionally, there are 4 main characteristics that also need to be present:
1. Commonality–there must be one or more legal or factual claims common to the entire class.
2. Adequacy–the class representatives must adequately protect the interests of the entire class.
3. Numerosity–the class must be large enough to make individual suits impractical.
4. Typicality–the claims or defenses must be typical of the plaintiffs or defendants.
Consumers may be interested in following the case against Apple, particularly because Apple says that Siri is in beta development, which means that the feature is available for use but is considered to be in a testing phase. Stay tuned for further updates on this story.