User’s Apple ID Termination Policy Case Falls Short, MTD Opinion Says

A Northern District of California judge dismissed all eight claims of a putative class action filed by an Apple ID account holder on Wednesday. The plaintiff sued Apple Inc. alleging that its policy of terminating the Apple ID accounts of its users who seek credit card payment returns for app purchases that do not work is fraudulent and unfair.

The plaintiff, an Apple ID holder since 2015, reportedly purchased over $24,000 in apps from Apple. When some apps stopped working, he investigated. Apple ultimately directed him to institute chargebacks with his credit card company. After he did so, Apple terminated his Apple ID and left him unable to use his account or the $24,000 of app services he had purchased using it.

The opinion began by noting that “Apple’s motion and reply brief repeatedly ask the Court to draw inferences in its favor based on allegations not in the complaint.” Judge Haywood S. Gilliam Jr. said that the request was improper at this stage and warned Apple “not to overreach in this manner again in any renewed motion to dismiss.”

As to the plaintiff’s unconscionability claims, the court ruled that the allegations failed to meet the dual standard. “Without determining the degree of procedural unconscionability, the Court concludes that Plaintiff’s claim fails in any event because he has not alleged facts showing the Apple Terms were substantively unconscionable,” Judge Gilliam wrote.

The plaintiff’s Unfair Competition Law claims were also insufficiently pleaded. The court noted that one of several tests could apply, yet “under any test, his allegations fail to plead enough ‘factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.’”

Ultimately, the court permitted leave to amend some, but not all of the plaintiff’s claims.

“No new or additional allegations could possibly cure the deficiencies in Plaintiff’s claims for liquidated damages, unjust enrichment, and equitable relief without contradicting prior allegations,” the opinion explained.

The plaintiff is represented by Andrus Anderson, Timoney Knox, Frederick Law Group, and Shub Law Firm. Apple is represented by DLA Piper LLP (US).