Judge Denies Apple’s Motion to Dismiss Fraud and Unfair Conduct Claims in MacBook Keyboard Lawsuit

On April 22, 2019, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California granted in part and denied in part Apple’s motion to dismiss the plaintiffs’ Consolidated Class Action Complaint against Apple.  The Court found that the plaintiffs adequately stated claims for violations of the California Unfair Competition Law (for fraudulent and unfair conduct) and claims for omissions-based fraud, relating to Apple’s knowledge of and failure to disclose an alleged defect in MacBook laptops equipped with “butterfly” keyboards. 

While the Court dismissed the plaintiffs’ warranty claims, it invited the plaintiffs to amend their complaint to address the Court’s concerns with these claims.  The Court’s decision on the motion to dismiss is available here.

The Court previously appointed Girard Sharp to serve as interim co-lead counsel for plaintiffs and the proposed class.  The lawsuit alleges that Apple manufactured and sold MacBook laptops that have defective “butterfly” keyboards.  Plaintiffs allege that Apple has been aware of the defective nature of these keyboards since 2015 but continued to sell the laptops at premium prices and without disclosing the problem to consumers.

Thousands of consumers have reported keyboard failures, and the problem has received considerable media attention.  When the alleged defect manifests, consumers cannot use the MacBook for its most basic purpose—typing.  Apple introduced its patented butterfly-switch technology to create a thinner laptop with a more responsive keyboard.  The butterfly keyboards, however, allow dust, debris, and other particulates to easily enter the keys, and the slightest amount of debris can cause key failure.  When consumers experience the alleged defect, their keys stick, register multiple keystrokes, or do not respond altogether.  According to the plaintiffs’ allegations, when consumers take their MacBook to Apple for a keyboard repair, the repairs are ineffective and replacement keyboards contain the same defective design, exposing consumers to repeat failure.

If you purchased a MacBook in or after 2015, or a MacBook Pro in or after 2016, this class action lawsuit may affect you.  To join our mailing list and receive updates about the case, please click here to complete our short online survey and follow us @GirardSharp on Twitter.

We invite you to contact us at MacKeyboard@girardsharp.com with any questions or comments.

Follow us on Twitter @GirardSharp for updates on the lawsuit.

Practice Areas