Apple is getting sued over fatal car crash for NOT adding a feature to their products.
Is failure to create the same as failure to protect? A lawsuit filed against Apple is putting that idea to the test. The lawsuit alleges that Apple’s failure to implement a patented feature is to blame for the death of a 5 year old girl.
On Christmas Eve, 2014, the Modisette family was driving home when their car was struck by another car, being driven by Garrett Wilhelm. The Modisette’s youngest daughter, Moriah, was killed as a result of the accident. The investigation revealed that Wilhelm had been “Face Time”-ing on his iPhone when he lost control of his vehicle.
As it turns out, back in 2014, Apple patented technology that could prevent people from using their iPhones while driving. Essentially, the feature would render the device unusable when the sensor detected that the phone was traveling at high rates of speed.
The Modisette family is now alleging that Apple should be held responsible for the accident. The basic premise is this: since Apple knew how dangerous distracted driving can be, and since it had patented technology to help make the phone safer, its failure to implement the technology is a breach of its duty to its users (and to others on the road).
One on hand, you could make the argument that Apple has a duty to make its products as safe as possible (this is the argument the plaintiffs are making). On the other hand, if this technology either didn’t work well, or was overly cost prohibitive, then you could argue that Apple has a duty to its shareholders to NOT produce products that detract from company profits.
What do you think?