By Jonathan Stempel
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed a proposed class-action lawsuit accusing Apple Inc of misleading consumers about how resistant its iPhones are to water exposure.
Apple’s advertisements had made various claims about the iPhone’s resistance to damage when submerged or otherwise exposed to water, including that some models could survive depths of 4 meters (13.1 feet) for 30 minutes.
The named plaintiffs, two from New York and one from South Carolina, claimed that Apple’s “false and misleading” misrepresentations let the company charge twice as much for iPhones than the cost of “average smartphones.”
U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan said the plaintiffs plausibly alleged that Apple’s ads could mislead consumers, but did not show their iPhones were damaged by “liquid contact” Apple promised they could withstand.
The judge also found no proof of fraud, citing a lack of evidence that Apple intended to overstate its water resistance claims, or that the plaintiffs relied on fraudulent marketing statements when buying their iPhones.
Spencer Sheehan, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said his clients are disappointed with the decision, and no decision has been made whether to appeal.
Neither Apple nor lawyers for the Cupertino, California-based company immediately responded to requests for comment.
In the quarter ended Dec. 25, 2021, iPhones accounted for $71.6 billion, or 58%, of Apple’s $123.9 billion of net sales.
The case is Smith et al v Apple Inc, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 21-03657.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Karishma Singh)