Parents Drag Apple To Court Over Dead 5-Year-Old Girl

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Eric Lieberman Managing Editor
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The family of a 5-year-old girl killed in a car crash is suing Apple because the driver of the other vehicle was using FaceTime, a live-video streaming application developed by Apple.

James Modisette was driving in the car with daughter Moriah on Christmas Eve in 2014 when driver Garrett Wilhelm rammed into their vehicle going around 65 mph, according to ABC News.

Authorities say that Wilhelm was using the FaceTime app while operating his vehicle, which caused him to miss the brake lights ahead. (RELATED: Distracted Driving Is A Huge Problem, And Autonomous Cars Could Help)

Wilhelm “struck the Modisette family car from behind, causing it to be propelled forward, rotate and come to a final rest at an angle facing the wrong direction in the right lane of traffic,” the lawsuit, which was obtained by Ars Technica, reads.

Moriah, who was in a booster seat before the crash, was ultimately killed after being airlifted to a hospital; James remained in critical condition for some time. The mother and the other daughter also suffered serious, but non-fatal injuries.

James and Moriah had to be physically extricated from the car.

The Modisettes want Apple to pay for the damages incurred from the accident because they believe the tech company could and should have created features that lock people out of FaceTime. (RELATED: Apple Has Been Hit With Several Obstacles Over Past Few Months)

“At the time of the collision in question, the iPhone utilized by Wilhelm contained the necessary hardware (to be configured with software) to automatically disable or ‘lock out’ the ability to use [FaceTime] … However, Apple failed to configure the iPhone to automatically ‘lock out’ the ability to utilize FaceTime while driving at highway speeds, despite having the technical capability to do so,” reads the lawsuit, which also references the patent Apple originally filed for iPhones.

The patent is designed in a way to provide a “lock-out mechanism” so drivers cannot use it while in motion, but such lock-out services are not always fully utilized due to limits of its detection capacity.

“The motion analyzer can detect whether the handheld computing device is in motion beyond a predetermined threshold level,” the patent reads.

While Wilhelm has been charged with manslaughter, the Modisettes also want Apple to be held liable for Wilhelm using its technology.

Suing tech companies for people acting irresponsibly has become a common practice. (RELATED: 2016’s Assault On The Internet Was Brutal. Will 2017 Be Worse?)

Victims of the Orlando Night club shooting, the Paris attacks, and Palestinian bombings have all sued tech companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter in the past year. The plaintiffs in these cases argue that these businesses are complicit with terrorists because they use the platforms for their nefarious activities.

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Eric Lieberman