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Here’s Why Apple Is Getting Sued Again

August 29, 2016, 3:55 PM UTC
Inside An Apple Inc. Store As The New iPhones Are Released
An Apple Inc. iPhone 6s Plus is displayed for a photograph at an Apple store in Palo Alto, California, U.S., on Friday, Sept. 25, 2015. From Sydney to New York, some of the Apple faithful waited in lines for more than two weeks to be among the first to receive the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photograph by David Paul Morris — Bloomberg via Getty Images

Apple has been sued by owners of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones who say a design defect causes the phones’ touchscreens to become unresponsive, making them unusable.

According to a proposed nationwide class-action lawsuit filed on Saturday, Apple (AAPL) has long been aware of the defect, which often surfaces after a flickering gray bar appears atop the touchscreens, but has refused to fix it.

The plaintiffs linked the problem to Apple’s decision not to use a metal “shield” or “underfill” to protect the relevant parts, as it did on versions of the iPhone 5.

“The iPhones are not fit for the purpose of use as smartphones because of the touchscreen defect,” according to the complaint filed in federal court in San Jose, California.

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Todd Cleary of California, Jun Bai of Delaware, and Thomas Davidson of Pennsylvania are the named plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which accuses Apple of fraud and violating California consumer protection laws. They seek unspecified damages.

Apple did not immediately respond on Monday to a request for comment.

Problems with iPhone 6 touchscreens were described online last week by iFixit, which labeled the issue “Touch Disease.”

That company sells repair parts and has previously analyzed other Apple products.

Apple, based in Cupertino, Calif., sold 166.4 million iPhones, generating $108.5 billion of net sales, in the first nine months of its current fiscal year.