First filed in Philly, exploding iPhone litigation sent to Schuylkill County court

By Nicholas Malfitano | Mar 13, 2018

POTTSVILLE – A successful argument by counsel for Apple has sent the lawsuit filed by a plaintiff whose iPhone 5 allegedly exploded in his pocket to the Schuylkill County Court of Common Pleas.

Kyler Mowery of Orwigsburg (legally represented by his mother Joni Mowery) initially filed suit on Jan. 19, 2017 in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, against Apple, Inc. of Los Angeles, Calif.

“On or about Feb. 22, 2016, plaintiff was injured when the subject phone exploded in his pocket due to a defective condition of the phone and/or its battery, thereby sustaining serious and permanent injuries more fully set forth herein,” the suit reads.

Mowery believed Apple failed to design the phone to operate properly or warn customers of the possible risk of the phone exploding, among a number of other allegations, and claims to have suffered severe burns, internal injuries, nervous system shock, aches, pains, mental anxiety and anguish, and other injuries in the accident.

Shortly after the complaint was filed, attorneys for Apple answered it and petitioned to the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on March 2 last year that the case was being heard in the wrong venue.

In opposition, Joseph H. Blum, counsel for Apple, believed the Mowerys’ lawsuit was filed in the wrong venue and cited the five factors governing where a personal action against a corporation may be brought, per Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 2179(a): “(1) The county where its registered office or principal place of business is located; (2) A county where it regularly conducts business; (3) The county where the cause of action arose; (4) A county where a transaction or occurrence took place out of which the cause of action arose, or (5) A county where the property or part of the property which is the subject matter of the action is located provided that equitable relief is sought with respect to the property.”

Blum argued that Apple’s principal place of business is in the State of California and the plaintiff provided little, if any, specificity as to where the alleged accident took place.

“Upon information and belief, plaintiff’s accident took place at school, near his home in Orwigsburg, Pennsylvania. Orwigsburg is located in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. As to the fourth factor, plaintiff’s complaint makes no specific averment regarding any transactions giving rise to the cause of action,” Blum stated.

“Upon information and belief, the subject iPhone was purchased by plaintiff’s father Chad Mowery online and was delivered directly to plaintiff’s home in Orwigsburg, Pennsylvania. As pled, plaintiff’s complaint fails to set forth the requisite basis to establish proper venue in Philadelphia County and, as such, plaintiff’s complaint should be dismissed with leave to file in the county where the alleged accident occurred, [Schuylkill County].”

As a result of Blum’s motion and subsequent argument, the case was in fact transferred to the Schuylkill County Court of Common Pleas in August. Aside from an entry of appearance by defense counsel Erin P. Loucks on Oct. 13, court records show the case is awaiting further action.

For charges of negligence and strict liability, the plaintiff is seeking compensatory damages not in excess of $50,000, plus interest and costs of suit.

The plaintiff is represented by Harry J. Kane Jr. of Greenblatt Pierce Funt & Flores, in Philadelphia.

The defendant is represented by Blum and Loucks of Shook Hardy & Bacon, also in Philadelphia.

Schuylkill County Court of Common Pleas S-1508-2017

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 170103755 

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at

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