Back in March we brought you news that a class action lawsuit had been filed against Apple over Siri, the personal assistant software that has been one of Apple's main selling points for the iPhone 4S. The suit, brought by Frank M. Fazio of Brooklyn, New York, accused Apple of false advertising in commercials that show off Siri's capabilities.
Specifically, the suit alleges that Siri does not function as well as Apple says it does, often returning incorrect information, misunderstanding spoken commands and requests, or even failing to work at all. The suit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California, sought class action status.
Apple has responded by filing a motion to dismiss the suit. Apple's filing argues that the suit fails to provide specific information about Siri's failings, and that Apple has been extremely forthcoming about the fact that Siri is still regarded as a beta release, and is not yet perfect. While the ads in question show - as advertisements are wont to do - Siri at her best, the fact that the feature is still in beta should, Apple argues, be sufficient warning to purchasers that Siri may not work the way she's supposed to all the time. They also insist that dissatisfied purchasers already have a legal recourse whereby they can express their frustration with Siri: Apple's return policy. As such, Apple argues that even if the plaintiffs could prove their claims, the claims would still not be actionable.
The full motion is embedded below. Here are a few highlights:
Plaintiffs do not tell the Court how Siri’s operation allegedly differs from any particular representation they relied on in purchasing their iPhones. They offer only general descriptions of Apple’s advertisements, incomplete summaries of Apple’s website materials, and vague descriptionsof their alleged—and highly individualized—disappointment with Siri. Tellingly, although Plaintiffsclaim they became dissatisfied with Siri’s performance “soon after” purchasing their iPhones, theymade no attempt to avail themselves of Apple’s 30-day return policy or one-year warranty—whichremains in effect.
Moreover, Plaintiffs’ sweeping allegations that Apple engaged in a unified course of fraudulentconduct to disseminate false and misleading statements in its advertising and marketing of iPhone4S’s Siri software fail as a matter of law because Plaintiffs do not allege a single actionablemisstatement that could support any of the claims in the Complaint.
Plaintiffs Frank Fazio and Daniel Balassone (as well as all out-of-state purchasers in the putative class) lack standing to pursue claims under California’s consumer protection statutes becausethey reside in other states, purchased their iPhones in other states, and apparently were exposed toApple’s advertisements in other states.
Plaintiffs Fazio and Balassone—and all out-of-state purchasers in the putative class—lack standing to pursue claims under California’s consumer protection statutes because they are notCalifornia residents and did not purchase their iPhones in California, and such claims should bedismissed. In addition, Plaintiffs fail to plead their claims against Apple with the level of particularity required by Rule 9(b), impermissibly rely on a selective reading of the challengedrepresentations that ignores specific disclosures, allege only non-actionable statements, and otherwisefail to allege sufficient facts in support of any of their claims. Because the Complaint is insufficientas a matter of law to support any of the claims alleged, Apple respectfully requests that this Courtdismiss the Complaint in its entirety.
Apple's motion to dismiss was filed on May 10th. The presiding judge, Claudia Wilken, has yet to issue a ruling on the motion.