Court Largely Denies Apple’s Motion to Dismiss Lawsuit Related to Defective Butterfly Keyboards in MacBook and MacBook Pro Laptops

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 Plaintiffs’ Consolidated Class Action Complaint against Apple alleging that a defect in the butterfly-switch keyboards in certain MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops causes keyboard failure.

The Court found that Plaintiffs’ Complaint stated viable 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 the alleged defect.

The Court dismissed Plaintiffs’ claims for violations of California’s Consumers Legal Remedies Act, violations of the Unfair Competition Law’s unlawful prong, violations of California’s Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing; however, the Court indicated that Plaintiffs may amend their pleading with respect to these claims and dismissed these causes of action without prejudice.  The Court’s decision on the motion to dismiss is available here.

The alleged keyboard defect affects model year 2015 and later MacBook and 2016 and later MacBook Pro laptops and has created a widespread issue for consumers across the country.  The problem has gained much attention in the media given its severity.  When the alleged defect manifests, consumers cannot use their MacBook laptops for one of the most basic purposes—typing.  Apple introduced its patented butterfly-switch keyboard technology to create a more responsive keyboard and a lower profile laptop.  However, the keyboards 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 to stick, register multiple keystrokes, do not respond altogether, and otherwise malfunction.  Making matters worse, the lawsuit alleges that when consumers take their MacBooks to Apple for a keyboard repair, the repairs are ineffective and replacement keyboards contain the same issue, exposing consumers to repeat failure.

Chimicles Schwartz Kriner & Donaldson-Smith LLP (CSK&D) is interested in talking to consumers about their experiences with the alleged defect and keyboard failure in the affected MacBooks.  If you have experienced keyboard failure in your MacBook (2015 or later) or MacBook Pro (2016 or later), please contact our law firm by filling out the form below.

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Attorneys for this case:

Steven A. Schwartz
Benjamin F. Johns