Apple Ducks Overcharged Data Claims, For Now

     SAN JOSE, Calif. (CN) — At a brief hearing on Friday, a federal judge dismissed with leave to amend a case against Apple claiming the tech giant purposefully concealed a defect that jacked up data usage.
     U.S. District Judge Ronald Whyte gave Aptos, California resident Thomas Palmer 30 days to amend him complaint.y, however he gave plaintiffs 30 days to revise their accusations.
     Whyte said Palmer’s complaint lacked specifics on what misrepresentations Palmer says Apple made to consumers, who made them and how the consumers relied upon those misrepresentations in making their decisions.
     “The complaint is not adequate in my view, although I think it is pretty easily correctible,” Whyte said.
     Palmer’s attorney Christopher Pitoun said after the hearing that he was “looking forward to amending the complaint.”
     During the hearing, he assured the judge he would be able to incorporate the specificity needed to make the claims hold up but said that Apple executives are the ones who provided “technical details espousing why it was a great product.”
     “It wasn’t just them saying this is a wonderful product, but they provided specific detail about why they though it was a great product,” Pitoun said.
     He also said Apple engaged in a systematic practice of misrepresentations, which requires injunctive relief.
     Whyte did not agree, saying the complaint wandered between claims of “misrepresentation and nondisclosure” and that the plaintiffs must nail down exactly which of portions of the California Consumer Protection Act were violated in order for the case to proceed.
     The dispute stems from Palmer’s claim that the iphone 5 had a defect which caused consumers’ to rack up large amounts of data usage on their cellphone plans even when connected to Wi-Fi.
     Palmer says Apple new about the problem but sought actively to keep it from consumers and took about two years to solve the issue.
     “Through this entire time period, Apple materially omitted and failed to disclose the defect to consumers,” the complaint states. “By omitting this material information, consumers were charged hefty fees for data they did not intend to use and had sought not to use, because they had initiated the connections through their Wi-Fi networks to avoid such charges.”
     During the hearing, Apple attorney David Sing essentially regurgitated the arguments set forth by Whyte in his tentative ruling, saying the claims lacked specificity.
     “It was very clear that a lot of the claims were from attorney’s investigations,” he said, referring to the complaint’s many references to YouTube videos of Apple executives describing the devices in question.
     Pitoun countered by saying Palmer visited those websites when conducting research about which product to buy.
     Whyte said he would issue a written ruling, after which Palmer will have 30 days to amend the complaint.
     Pitoun is with Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro in Pasadena, California. Sing is with Weil, Gotshal & Manges in Redwood Shores, California.

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