Judge Denies Class-Action Status For Lawsuit Filed By Former iPhone User Over Lost Texts

A former iPhone user who sued Apple last May claiming she lost text messages when she switched to an Android phone won’t be able to get class-action status for her lawsuit.

She and other former iPhone owners who switched to Android devices complained that ever since they made the move, text messages from their iPhone friends and family were disappearing into the ether. The plaintiff filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, claiming that Apple’s proprietary messaging system, iMessage, interfered with delivery of texts when she made the move to a Samsung phone.

She alleged that Apple customers who replaced their devices with non-Apple phones and tablets are “penalized and unable to obtain the full benefits of their wireless-service contracts.”

By interfering with the texts, Apple “tortiously[sic] interfered with the contract for cellular service between these putative class members and their cellular telephone carrier in that Apple’s actions prevented the subscribers from receiving all of their text messages, as they were entitled to obtain through their cellular wireless service contracts.”

Though U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh gave the plaintiff’s lawsuit the go ahead in November, on Tuesday she denied the lawsuit class-action status, reports Bloomberg, saying it isn’t clear enough that all the proposed members of the class suffered an inconvenience due to any “contractual breach or interference” stemming from the iMessage system.

The plaintiff could be right in claiming that iMessage has “systematic flaws that could result in the disruption of text messaging services,” Koh notes, but “that determination does not assist the court in determining whether iMessage actually caused the proposed class members to suffer any interference.”

In other words, yes, some other people might’ve also been ticked over the issue, but just because the possibility is out there, it doesn’t mean they actually were put out.

Class-action status could’ve given plaintiffs more leverage to negotiate as a group, and would’ve raised costs for Apple to defend itself, so the tech company comes out on top in this situation.

But just because the lawsuit isn’t going ahead as a class-action suit, that doesn’t mean the plaintiff has to give up just yet: Judge Koh said in November that the plaintiff has the right to attempt to prove that Apple did in fact obstruct her use of an Android phone and kept her from using her Verizon contract to its fullest benefit.

“Plaintiff does not have to allege an absolute right to receive every text message in order to allege that Apple’s intentional acts have caused an ‘actual breach or disruption of the contractual relationship,'” Koh wrote at the time.

Apple Defeats Bid for Group Suit Over Texts Lost in Phone Swap [Bloomberg]