Apple throws a wrench in iPhone throttling lawsuit

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iphone SE
The iPhone SE was among the models mentioned in a class action lawsuit against Apple.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple is asking a judge to boot the lead attorneys in a class action suit that accuses the iPhone maker of throttling older phones to force users to buy new handsets.

Apple claims opposing counsel with Cotchett Pitre & McCarthy discussed and quoted confidential documents in a public hearing last month.

Attorneys received three documents that were restricted from being disclosed under a protective order. Despite being marked “HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL – ATTORNEYS’ EYES ONLY,” lawyers Joseph Cotchett and Mark Molumphy read from them during a March 7 hearing in which Apple sought to have the case dismissed, according to a report by Reuters Legal.

Apple said the public discussion of the company documents contained “sensitive information not just about Apple’s business, but also about individual employees.”

In the motion to sanction the lawyers filed Tuesday, Apple accused them of intentionally violating the protective order.

“Termination of Mr. Cotchett and Mr. Molumphy as class counsel, including as Interim Co-Lead Counsel, is the most appropriate remedy,” Apple said in its motion. News of the latest motion was reported by Reuters Legal on its Westlaw platform, a legal research tool that is behind a paywall.

The class action suit was filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco last year after Apple acknowledged that iOS updates can slow some phones with battery problems.

Plaintiffs accuse Apple of fraud, negligent misrepresentation, unjust enrichment and other violations of consumer protection law.

Apple said it throttled phones with degraded lithium-ion batteries to ward off crashes. Apple denies wrongdoing, apologized and tried to assuage anger by reducing the price on replacement batteries to $29

Source: Reuters Legal