SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – With one judge emphatically dissenting, the Ninth Circuit on Thursday upheld a federal judge’s dismissal of a class action against Apple claiming that the voice-activated Siri function on the iPhone 4S does not work as advertised.
Lead plaintiff Frank Fazio claimed in 2012 that Siri often could not find locations and responded with “I don’t know” when asked questions or failed to respond at all, which he said went contrary to Apple’s marketing campaign for the “intelligent assistant that helps you get things done just by asking.”
U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken dismissed the case in February 2014, finding that the plaintiffs “fail to isolate the particular statements at issue and explain each statement’s false and misleading nature.”
The circuit’s three-judge panel affirmed Wilken’s decision in a 6-page unpublished opinion, holding that “merely pointing to product demonstrations of Siri in Apple’s general advertising campaign is insufficient to show that Apple fraudulently misled plaintiffs into believing Siri would perform consistently.”
“Plaintiffs do not allege that Siri never worked, just that Siri did not work as consistently as expected,” the opinion said.
But Circuit Judge Barry Silverman pointed out in his spirited dissent that the plaintiffs did not allege that Siri did not work as they “expected,” but that she did not work “as advertised.”
“In a false advertising case, that is a crucial distinction,” Silverman said.
Silverman noted that “the essence of Apple’s attack on the sufficiency of the complaint is that plaintiffs did not plead that the commercials specifically state that Siri will work ‘consistently.'”
He added, “With all due respect, that’s baloney,” and he said that Apple’s motion to dismiss should have been denied.
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