Parents James and Bethany Modisette are suing Apple for damages on the basis that the electronics giant failed to install and implement a “safer, alternative design” for FaceTime that would have helped to prevent a driver from using the app while traveling at highway speed, court documents show.
The lawsuit filed Dec. 23 in California Superior Court in Santa Clara County also claims that Apple failed “to warn users that the product was likely to be dangerous when used or misused” or to instruct on its safe usage.
The fatal accident occurred Christmas Eve in 2014 near Dallas, when, according to the lawsuit, the Modisette family was driving in a Toyota Camry, with daughter Moriah, 5, in a booster seat in the left rear passenger seat and her sister, Isabella, next to her in the right rear seat.
The Modisettes had slowed or stopped their car due to police activity ahead of them on the highway that had caused traffic to back up, according to the suit.
Another driver, Garrett Wilhelm, traveling in his Toyota 4Runner in the same direction and behind the Modisette car, allegedly had his attention diverted by his use of the FaceTime app, the suit says.