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Apple Watch design & battery are inherently unsafe, claims lawsuit

Lawsuit takes aim at Apple Watch design

Apple has been hit with a lawsuit claiming that every Apple Watch model ever made has an "unsafe defect" — specifically, the fact that the device doesn't have the internal space to accommodate a swollen battery.

The class action complaint, lodged Thursday in a federal court in California, claims that the Apple Watch has an "undisclosed and unreasonably dangerous safety hazard." The lawsuit names every model produced, from the original Apple Watch to the Apple Watch Series 6.

More specifically, the lawsuit calls out the fact that the Apple Watch allegedly lacks any "thermal or other solution to prevent and/or mitigate the danger of a detached, shattered, or cracked Watch screen resulting from the insufficient space allocated within the device for the rectangular shaped, electromagnetically charged lithium cobalt oxide battery."

The lawsuit claims that the lack of space can cause problems if the battery suddenly swells. Such a scenario could place upward pressure on the screen, causing it to detach from the Apple Watch, shatter, or crack — "exposing its razor-sharp edges" to users.

In other words, the manufacturing defect is not the fact that lithium ion batteries could swell. Instead, the lawsuit takes issue with the fact that there isn't sufficient space within the device, or some other mitigation mechanism, to protect against swelling batteries. One example it gives is a "protective guard to keep [the battery] from contacting the screen face."

"The detached, shattered, or cracked screens are a material and unreasonably dangerous safety hazard," the complaint reads.

More than that, the lawsuit claims that Apple knowingly produced Apple Watch models with this safety detect. It adds that the company denies the existence of it.

The lawsuit names a handful of plaintiffs that had issues with battery swelling on their Apple Watch models. It seeks class action status.

The complaint, which demands a jury trial, seeks damages for the plaintiffs and class members, as well as disclosure of the "defective nature of the Watch," among other prayers for relief.

It's not clear how the case will work around more than two decades of precedent involving batteries, and how they swell inside a mobile device enclosure when operating outside normal parameters when damaged or chemically depleted. Similar cases have been filed regarding iPhone batteries in the past, and none have ended in the filer's favor.