Texas parents allege FaceTime responsible for their daughter’s death, file a lawsuit against Apple

A Texas couple is suing Apple for being the cause of the death of their five-year-old daughter.  Their daughter was killed in a road accident on Christmas Eve in 2014 involving a driver who was allegedly using the FaceTime feature on the iPhone during the fatal accident.

The driver, Garrett Wilhelm, 22, was allegedly using Apple’s FaceTime video calling App when his car hit the rear of James and Bethany Modisette’s car at 65mph. Moriah Modisette, who was sitting in the backseat of her parents’ car later died of her injuries, while her parents and sister, Isabella, eight, were hurt.

Right before the crash, the traffic had slowed down and it’s presumed that the offending driver wasn’t paying attention, which caused him to collide with the Modisette’s vehicle. Wilhelm had FaceTime active when the police officers arrived at the fatal crash scene, said the investigators. “Police located his iPhone at the crash scene with the Facetime application still active,” the Modisette family’s legal team wrote.

Wilhelm is currently facing manslaughter charges. The plaintiffs claim that Apple’s failure to implement safety technology on the video chat service was “a substantial factor in causing the plaintiffs’ injuries and decedent’s death.”

According to the lawsuit filed by the Modisettes, they claim it is because of Apple’s “failure to install and implement the safer, alternative design for which it sought a patent in December 2008 to ‘lock out’ the ability of drivers to utilize the ‘FaceTime’ application on the Apple iPhone when driving a motor vehicle, which resulted in the injuries sustained by plaintiffs”.

They also claim that Apple’s product was a “substantial factor in causing the plaintiffs’ injuries and decedent’s death.” Apple should have put measures in place to ensure the app is safe, pointing out in their suit that the company has had the technology to track moving smartphones and shut down at high speeds for years, stated the Modisettes.

“Defendant Apple Inc. has had the technology to prevent these events, and the Modisettes’ injuries, specifically since at least Dec. 12, 2008, when it filed an application with the US Patent Office for a ‘driver handheld computing device lock-out.”

By failing to implement the alleged technology, Apple has “breached a duty of care to plaintiffs,” claim the Modisettes.

According to them, the cost of implementing the design would be ‘minimal’ for Apple and holds ‘no conceivable disadvantage’ for the tech giant, even though provides no evidence in the lawsuit.

The suit accuses Apple of negligence, among other claims, and seeks monetary damages.

Apple has not commented on this new lawsuite.

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