According to reports, Apple finds itself the subject of a another lawsuit regarding its power adapters. Unlike the previously settled class action lawsuit which alleged that the MagSafe adapters were defectively designed and caused unnecessary fraying of the power cords, the latest suit alleges that the adapters actually cause physical harm to others. In the latest suit filed in California, Heather Henderson allegedly suffered second and third-degree burns after coming in contact with the adapter. Such burns, Henderson believes, could have been prevented had Apple placed an appropriate warning on the MagSafe adapter.
This suit arises out of an incident that happened earlier this year. Henderson’s husband was using his Apple laptop when Henderson fell asleep with her arm on top of the adapter for approximately 40 minutes. She woke up groggy, felt “itchy,” and went to bed. The next morning she felt pain and discovered a “one-inch boil” on her arm. Henderson believes the boil has resulted in a permanent scar.
From what we can gather from the reports, the interesting thing about this suit is that it is couched as a failure to warn case rather than one alleging that the adapter is excessively hot. Henderson told San Diego’s ABC affiliate that she knew the adapter could get warm, but she “didn’t know exposure to [her] bare skin would mean a second- to third-degree burn.” Moreover, Morris stated the following regarding the adapters:
It’s a huge problem. It’s called MagSafe, but it’s not safe at all. People are reporting burns and fires, and Apple knows this.
Henderson and Morris allege that burns such as those suffered by Henderson could have been prevented had Apple placed a warning label on the adapter.
We here at Abnormal Use are curious as to why Henderson appears to be focusing on the lack of warning labels on the adapter. After all, she came into contact with the adapter accidentally while sleeping. It is not like a more effective warning label would have saved the day. Had Henderson alleged that the adapter heated to a temperature in excess of the normal in-use temperature of MagSafe adapters or other power adapters in the industry, then she likely would have a better case. Our guess is that there must not be sufficient evidence to establish that the temperature of the adapter was abnormal or else Henderson would have proceeded on that theory. When accidents happen and there is no legitimate means of recovery, failure to warn becomes the default.