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South Carolina Man Sues Apple Two Years After Being Burned By iPhone

Man Holding Iphone Credit: The Augusta Chronicle via AP
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A South Carolina man has reportedly sued Apple, along with his wireless insurance provider, Asurion, this week over an alleged explosion of his replacement iPhone 6 which occurred nearly two-years ago, according to a report on Monday from The Post and Courier.

The plaintiff, Mr. Robert Portee of Sumter, South Carolina, claims he was visiting with his son in the fall of 2016 when he began to feel “extreme heat” in his front pocket, followed almost immediately by an audible ‘crackling’ sound coming from his pants.. Allegedly, within moments, Portee’s iPhone 6 handset exploded with such force that it injured him significantly enough to warrant being airlifted to a burn center in nearby Georgia, the publication reports.

Portee admitted he’d been charging the iPhone 6 and speaking on it prior to the incident, but that the handset was not connected to its Lightning cable at the time. Supposedly the device was a replacement issued by Portee’s insurer, Asurion, after his original iPhone 6 sustained damage — and as such, Asurion is named as a co-defendant in the case.

Portee is seeking “unspecified damages” from Apple and Asurion, saying in court documents that both companies “should have known” about the risk of battery problems while suggesting that iPhones should also notify their users if they’re overheating.

Of course, this wouldn’t be the first time we’ve covered reports about iPhones that gone up in flames. While Samsung arguably takes the cake with its highly-publicized Galaxy Note 7 battery explosions of 2016, it’s not unheard of for other devices with swollen batteries (including iPhones) to become the victim of their own combustion. We’ve covered a myriad of these incidents, which tend to occur after a third-party has either modified the device or replaced its battery. Click here to watch an iPhone explode in real-time!

While swollen and after-market batteries are indeed prone to causing fires and “explosions” like this, Apple’s devices have never been accused of having systemic battery problems — unlike the Note 7, which unfortunately resulted in the recall of millions of units, injuries, and a massive loss of capital.

Still, Mr. Portee’s case against the Cupertino tech-giant will likely only embolden concerns over battery safety, possibly even leading Apple to introduce even more expansive battery health protocols than it introduced in iOS 11.3. But only time will tell that much.

Further information about this case, and its outcome, will be provided as it unfolds. This is a developing report.

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