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Apple is paying $9.75M to settle Powerbeats2 class action lawsuit

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Apple has settled a class action lawsuit claiming the company's Powerbeats2 wireless earphones contain a design defect that causes the device to stop retaining a charge.

The initial complaint, filed in the Superior Court of California by plaintiffs Latanya Simmons and Kevin Tobin on behalf of a wider class of device owners in 2017, focused on both Powerbeats2 and Powerbeats3 hardware. Allegations centered around advertised product robustness, waterproofness and battery life claims, all of which were claimed to be false.

Plaintiffs alleged that, during the course of ownership, the product failed to charge or turn on "after a short amount of time." The suit claimed breach of express warranty, breach of the Song-Beverly Act, violation of the California Consumers Legal Remedies Act, violation of the Unfair Competition Law, unjust enrichment, common law fraud and negligence.

Apple denied the allegations and no judgment was made in the case.

Parties reached a settlement agreement in January. A preliminary approval order detailing specifics of the settlement, including Apple's $9.75 million payout, was signed on Aug. 7.

A related class action lawsuit filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California asserted identical grievances and was allowed to proceed in 2018. That case was dismissed in April following word of Apple's settlement in superior court.

Lawyers for plaintiffs began to notify potential class members of the settlement this week via email, reports MacRumors. According to a dedicated informational webpage, customers are eligible for benefits if they purchased Powerbeats2 prior to the Aug. 7 order. Potential claimants have until Nov. 20, 2020, to submit a claim, file an exclusion from the settlement or enter an objection.

The settlement amount will be meted out on a points system. Authorized claimants with no proof of purchase and record of repair receive one point, while those with a valid proof of purchase or warranty repair receive two points. The net settlement will then be divided by total points claimed, with individual awards calculated from that amount.

Claimants are eligible for a maximum payout of $189 multiplied by the number of the number of valid proofs of purchase. Class counsel estimates the point multiplier will be about $38, meaning claimants without proof of purchase will receive $38, while those with proof of purchase or warranty repair net $76.

Attorneys' fees of $3,250,000, administrative costs estimated to fall between $516,000 and $552,600, service awards to class representatives of $1,000, and unspecified costs are to be deducted from the $9.75 million settlement prior to distribution.

A final fairness hearing is scheduled for Jan. 21, 2021