Suit filed over Nano scratches

Complaint alleges that Apple violated state consumer protection statutes, as well as warranties.

Claiming that the iPod Nano has a widespread propensity for scratching easily, lawyers this week filed a class action suit against Apple Computer on behalf of those who have purchased the diminutive music player.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday on behalf of all those who have bought a Nano, alleges that Apple violated state consumer protection statutes, as well as express and implied warranties. The complaint charges that Apple knew that there were design problems with the Nano.

"These Nanos scratch excessively during normal usage, rendering the screen on the Nanos unreadable," according to the complaint, which was filed in U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif., by attorneys with Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro in Seattle and Columbus, Ohio-based David P. Meyer & Associates. The suit seeks to have the complaint certified as a class action claim and asks for "damages in the amount of monies paid for Nanos," as well as unspecified actual, statutory and punitive damages.

An Apple representative declined to comment on the suit, but Apple has stated that the Nano is made of the same polycarbonate material that's found in previous iPods and maintained that the scratching problem does not appear to be widespread.

The lawsuit charges, however, that the Nano contains a thinner coating of resin than on previous iPod models.

"The amount and durability of the resin applied as a protective coating during the Nano manufacturing process is clearly defective in that it is not sufficient to adequately protect the face of the Nano from extreme scratching and ultimately irreparable damage," the lawsuit says.

Questions about whether the Nano scratches more easily have been bubbling around Apple message boards since shortly after the product was announced in September.

Apple has confirmed a separate problem affecting less than 1 percent of Nanos, in which devices were shipped with a faulty LCD screen that was prone to cracking.

In its earnings conference call last week, Apple said it sold a million Nanos during the first 17 days the product was on the market and that it has seen significantly more demand than it has been able to meet.

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