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Tuesday, December 22, 2009, 08:30 am PT (11:30 am ET)

Judge dismisses suit against Apple over iMac G5 display issues

As Apple released a firmware update to fix graphical glitches on its new 27-inch iMac, a federal judge dismissed a class action lawsuit over display issues on 2006 hardware.

Plaintiff Aram Hovsepian filed the class-action suit demanding $5 million for himself and others similarly situated. The original complaint was issued on Dec. 31, 2008. Hovsepian attempted to include all people who purchased an iMac computer in the U.S.

Last week, Judge Jeremy Fogel of a federal court in San Jose, Calif., dismissed the complaint. He said the "class" cited by Hovsepian cannot be determined because it includes users who have not experienced any problems with their iMac, and have no right to sue.

"These type of class actions are not suitable for actions where recovery of money damages is the primary relief sought by the plaintiff," Fogel wrote. "The purpose of this lawsuit is money damages. These pleading deficiencies are present despite the fact that Hovsepian has been given two opportunities to amend his complaint. Accordingly, the class actions will be struck without prejudice."

The suit states that Hovsepian, a Florida resident, purchased his iMac G5 from Apple in October 2006. The plaintiff alleged that vertical lines began to appear on his display screen in March 2008, which eventually progressed to the point that the screen was unusable.

"He claims Apple knew of or recklessly ignored the existence of the defect that caused premature failure of the display screens, and that Apple failed to take remedial action or remove the defective computers from the marketplace," court documents state.

The decision comes as Apple has had screen flickering and distortion issues with its new, big-screen 27-inch iMac. On Monday, Apple issued a firmware update to address the issue. Some reports this week incorrectly suggested Hovsepian's lawsuit was related to the recent iMac display issues.

Weeks ago, many orders for the new iMac were delayed past Christmas. Apple acknowledged the delays, citing great demand for the new hardware, but did not comment on the reported display issues.