No Class Certification in Case of Lost IMessages


     SAN JOSE, Calif. (CN) – A federal judge denied class certification in a lawsuit claiming Apple intentionally blocked former iPhone users from receiving text messages sent from other iPhones.
     Lead plaintiff Adam Backhaut in May 2014 accused Apple of violating the federal Stored Communications Act, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and California unfair competition and consumer laws.
     Backhaut claims that if an iPhone user using the iMessage app switched to a non-Apple phone, text messages to that user would disappear because Apple would divert the message to its iMessage system. Since the user no longer had iMessage, he wouldn’t get the text.
     In a 28-page order filed Thursday denying the class certification, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh agreed with Apple that plaintiffs have not satisfied an additional standing requirement under state unfair competition laws – that they have “lost money or property.”
     She also found the proposed class members and the iOS users attempting to send text messages to proposed class members had been adequately notified of the bug through Apple’s own disclosures, numerous online postings and websites, or third-party news articles.
     The judge noted that Backhaut testified at his deposition that “‘there’s a whole host of information online regarding’ the iMessage issue and de-registering from iMessage,’ and “these ‘broad disclosures’ may be sufficient to have put proposed class members or senders on notice of the alleged interceptions.”
     Koh also denied injunctive relief for the class, noting that the plaintiffs have conceded the bug has been fixed and they now receive all their text messages.
     Apple filed a motion to dismiss the claims this past August, which Koh granted in part in November. Koh said that although the plaintiffs’ arguments did not support legal action under the federal Stored Communications Act because the law protects stored communications and not communications in transit from sender to recipient, they had sufficiently pleaded under the Wiretap Act, which prohibits the interception of communications.
     The judge dismissed the plaintiffs’ unfair competition claims stemming from the Stored Communications Act, but allowed the claims surrounding the Wiretap Act to stay.
     Neither plaintiffs’ attorney William Audet nor Apple’s attorney Kai Bartolomeo could immediately be reached for comment.

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