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Old 31 December 2016, 12:41 AM
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Cell Phone Parents sue Apple, blame FaceTime for daughter's death

A Texas couple is suing Apple, claiming its FaceTime app is responsible for the death of their 5-year-old daughter.

http://www.9news.com/news/parents-su...eath/380607991
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  #2  
Old 31 December 2016, 12:18 PM
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James and Bethany Modisette say Apple was granted a patent in 2014 for a FaceTime design that would've used GPS tracking to determine speed of travel to prevent people from using the app while driving, reports Courthouse News. Yet Apple never implemented the design, nor did it strongly warn drivers against using the app, per the lawsuit filed Friday.
And how would the app differentiate between the driver and a passenger? Sorry for their loss, but the blame fully rests on the behavior of the driver and maybe the person who was at the other end of the FaceTime call who probably knew that the driver was driving and didn't end the call.
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Old 31 December 2016, 12:37 PM
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My first thought was "if it hadn't been Face Time it would have been some other app or texting."
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Old 31 December 2016, 12:42 PM
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Yea, the existence of a patent means very little in terms of liability - tons of things are patented that never make their way to market and with this patent in question, all Apple has to say was that they couldn't find a way to implement in in a fashion where it would actually work properly. Just because you patent something doesn't mean you have to implement it.

A patent doesn't mean that they have a working concept or even that such concept is technologically possible right now. People have patented theoretical ideas lots of times. These people are going to have to prove that Apple would have had a working concept available for that model of phone (hard to do). All they prove is that Apple thought of a unique implementation. That's it. All Apple has to say is that they haven't gotten it working yet. A patent is miles away from a product.
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Old 31 December 2016, 04:54 PM
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Apple could say that, if it were true. It might aid their defense if they were working on it but couldn't get it to work. But if they patented it and then never tried to do it, it would not necessarily help them. And that defense would be at least reasonably in question, because other apps have implemented something like it.

The Waze app has strong warnings about entering information while driving, senses if you are moving at driving speeds and stops data entry at those speeds unless you tap a button saying you are a passenger. It also has a robust (mostly) hands free system for inputting some info.

Now, clearly, there's a difference between an app that is meant to be used while driving and one that arguably cannot be safely used while driving. But other apps have implemented the system of detecting driving speeds and requiring an affirmative assurance that the person is not the driver. That may be all an app can do, but it's not nothing.

Apple is unlikely to be found liable at a high percentage of liability, but a jury might decide that the failure to warn and to implement a feasible system that they already held a patent for, and that is similar to ones other apps already use, means they have some culpability. A jury might, for example, find Apple to be 5 or 10% liable.
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Old 31 December 2016, 11:59 PM
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Originally Posted by erwins View Post
Apple is unlikely to be found liable at a high percentage of liability, but a jury might decide that the failure to warn and to implement a feasible system that they already held a patent for, and that is similar to ones other apps already use, means they have some culpability. A jury might, for example, find Apple to be 5 or 10% liable.
While they may have the ability to implement the system, I'm not sure where the duty to do it comes from.
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Old 01 January 2017, 12:12 AM
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Not a lawyer, but isn't failing to mitigate known hazards negligence of some sort? Maybe not the legal definition of negligence, but something along those lines.

I would imagine it would have something to do with the severity and probability of the hazard vs. the effectiveness of possible mitigation.

I see an out of court settlement with no admission of liability coupled with an agreement to implement additional safeguards in the future. But then I'm not a psychic either, so that's worth about as much as my legal advice.
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Old 01 January 2017, 01:38 AM
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Originally Posted by ASL View Post
Not a lawyer, but isn't failing to mitigate known hazards negligence of some sort? Maybe not the legal definition of negligence, but something along those lines.

I would imagine it would have something to do with the severity and probability of the hazard vs. the effectiveness of possible mitigation.

I see an out of court settlement with no admission of liability coupled with an agreement to implement additional safeguards in the future. But then I'm not a psychic either, so that's worth about as much as my legal advice.
The thing that annoys me in these cases is that they blame everyone but the driver. They alone are reponsible for the accident due to their negilgence. Blaming Apple is just another in a long line of "who can we get money out of" claims that the legal profession is only too happy to assist with.
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Old 01 January 2017, 01:42 AM
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I'm sure they're suing the driver as well.
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Old 01 January 2017, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Amigone201 View Post
While they may have the ability to implement the system, I'm not sure where the duty to do it comes from.
It's product liability. Failure to implement a safer, feasible alternative. I believe it's a viable theory in at least most US jurisdictions.
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Old 26 January 2017, 11:24 AM
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Maybe sue all car makers for allowing their vehicle to go faster than 8mph?
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Old 26 January 2017, 01:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erwins View Post
It's product liability. Failure to implement a safer, feasible alternative. I believe it's a viable theory in at least most US jurisdictions.
I believe Apple can argue that they were simply unable to implement said patent. You don't have to produce anything to get a patent. I also think that Apple can argue that the person was already driving distracted which is illegal anyhow.
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Old 26 January 2017, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by erwins View Post
Now, clearly, there's a difference between an app that is meant to be used while driving and one that arguably cannot be safely used while driving. But other apps have implemented the system of detecting driving speeds and requiring an affirmative assurance that the person is not the driver. That may be all an app can do, but it's not nothing.
If such an argument applies to FaceTime, wouldn't it actually apply to every single smartphone app in existence? Would every app developer really have to implement motion detection so as to avoid liability for people who use the app while driving? That seems utterly ludicrous to me.
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Old 26 January 2017, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by gopher View Post
Maybe sue all car makers for allowing their vehicle to go faster than 8mph?
This lawsuit reminds me of one that got a lot of publicity when I was in high school (Our English teacher had an ongoing weekly assignment where we were required to take an article from a news magazine like Time or Newsweek and write a very short summary/analysis/opinion on the article. I'm pretty sure I did one related to that case). As I recall, a girl's parents sued Ford for over their daughter's death in a car accident because her late 1980s Escort didn't have an airbag. Their argument was that Ford had the capability of putting airbags in the car (They offered them on other models at the time) but chose not to for cost reasons, and that Ford had an obligation to make the car as safe as possible. By not including airbags on the Escort they had failed to meet that obligation. I don't remember what the outcome of that case was.
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Old 26 January 2017, 06:21 PM
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If this is the one you are thinking of http://www.autonews.com/article/1997.../ANA/712220721, they were not successful. But it appears that there were several similar suits at the time.
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