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WBM Expands Suit on Apple’s 2011 MacBook Pros

WBM is continuing its push on a lawsuit that alleges faulty graphics processing units (GPUs) in Apple 2011 MacBook Pro laptops. The firm recently filed an amended complaint expanding the case’s scope to include California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Puerto Rico, and Vermont.

In addition, the complaint includes new allegations about steps Apple took to conceal the graphics defect. When they were released in early 2011, Apple’s 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pros were being marketed as providing graphical performance three times faster than 2010 models. The suit alleges that this performance caused the laptops to run so hot that the solder attached to the laptops’ GPUs would deform and crack, eventually causing system failure. The updated suit alleges that in 2011, Apple released a software update that reduced the graphical performance of the GPUs by 33 percent in order to prevent them from reaching temperatures that would cause the GPUs to fail. 

WBM has retained a computer hardware expert who is performing tests on MacBook Pros that clients have volunteered for testing. Once this testing is complete, WBM’s expert will be able to explain to the court not only what causes the graphics defect but also how it could have been avoided with better manufacturing or design processes. 

Apple is expected to file a motion on Jan. 29 to dismiss this case. WBM’s response to that motion is due on March 5, and the case is scheduled for oral argument in early April before Judge Edward Davila of the U.S. District Court for the District of Northern California.

A recent case concerning Apple’s logic boards has been dismissed, however, WBM believes this suit, which applies only to 2011 MacBook Pro laptops that contain GPUs manufactured by AMD, is stronger. “What distinguishes our case is that we have identified a specific, preventable defect and have used Apple’s own marketing materials to show that Apple reduced the performance of the laptops in order to conceal the defect,” said Esfand Nafisi, one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys.

A survey posted online by plaintiffs’ counsel received 3,000 complaints in just one week, with 2011 MacBook Pro laptop owners alleging that graphics become unusably distorted, soon followed by software instability, system freezes and total system failure. Out-of-pocket repairs from Apple cost $350-$600.

The GPU issue might present itself onscreen as visual artifacts, banding or a blank screen, reports Apple Insider.

 photo credit (via facebook link): Pauli Calmody