A South Carolina man is suing Apple because he says his iPhone exploded in his pocket two years ago, injuring him so badly that he was airlifted to a burn center in Georgia.
The explosion happened at a moment in the fall of 2016 when fears about lithium-ion batteries were cropping up nationwide.
Samsung smartphones began blowing up, and airlines banned them from being turned on in flight. Problems also creeped into iPhones and devices like them, which had been packed with increasingly powerful batteries that were starting to go awry.
Robert Portee, a Sumter man, says that’s what happened to him. He’d been charging his iPhone 6 and talking on the phone, put it in his pocket and walked through his son’s house when he felt “extreme heat” and heard his clothes crackling.
In a lawsuit filed in federal court in Columbia, he says he ripped off his clothes and went to the emergency room. Once physicians saw what had happened, they put him on a helicopter headed toward a burn center in Augusta.
His lawsuit, filed late last month, seeks unspecified damages from Apple and Asurion, the insurance company that provided him with the phone. He says he got it as a replacement after his old phone was cracked.
The lawsuit says Apple and Asurion should have known about the possibility of battery problems, and it says iPhones should alert users if they’re overheating and at risk of exploding. The case was brought by the law firms Motley Rice of Mount Pleasant and George Sink P.A. Injury Lawyers of North Charleston.
Apple declined to comment on the lawsuit. Asurion didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Charleston-based Blackbaud’s push toward a business model based on subscriptions is nearly complete.
The software company, which is headquartered on Daniel Island, has been trying to get away from selling its products through one-off licenses. Instead, it wants to sell them on a subscription basis, which locks in a steady flow of income, and it has been shifting its model for the past few years.
The company, which makes software for nonprofits, says subscriptions now account for 90 percent of its revenue — an all-time high.
The monthly payment model has helped boost Blackbaud’s bottom line, but the company’s stock has been hit this month after Wall Street was underwhelmed by its second-quarter results. Its earnings fell to $6.6 million from April to June, a decline of 40 percent from the year before, despite higher sales.
Blackbaud says it’s also shaking up its offices to fit a workforce that’s spread across the country, a process that’s weighing on its bottom line. The company opened a new headquarters building this summer, for instance, and it thinks that moving into “more collaborative” spaces will cost as much as $8 million.