A settlement in federal court in San Jose that would pay at least $25 to people who claim Apple Inc. slowed down their older iPhones without informing them has moved a step closer to being completed.
On Friday, U.S. District Judge Edward Davila gave preliminary approval to the settlement, finding that it was “fair, reasonable and adequate,” according to court records.
The next step in the case will be a public hearing, expected in December, on whether Davila should grant final approval. Mark Molumphy, a lawyer for some consumers, said Monday that if the judge gives final approval, potentially millions of iPhone owners could receive payments at year’s end or in January.
The settlement of several dozen lawsuits applies to owners of certain iPhones within the iPhone 6, 6S, SE and 7 series who claim they experienced slowed-down performance before Dec. 21, 2017, and were not informed that an update suggested by Apple could have that result.
The Cupertino-based company has agreed to pay between $310 million and $500 million to iPhone owners in that category. The amount paid to each consumer will be at least $25 and could be up to $500, depending on how many file claims. The number of people eligible is in the millions, Molumphy said.
Apple has said in settlement documents it doesn’t acknowledge any wrongdoing, but wanted to avoid burdensome litigation. On Dec. 21, 2017, the company informed customers that software updates had slowed down phone performances at certain times, but said the purpose was to prevent unexpected shutoffs.
Plaintiffs’ attorney Joseph Cotchett stated:
“The settlement provides substantial relief to Apple consumers and, going forward, will help ensure that customers are fully informed when asked to update their products.”
Lawyers for the plaintiffs in the cases have said in court documents that they will ask Davila to order Apple to pay them up to $93 million out of the total settlement in attorney’s fees.