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iPod Touch torches tyke's trousers

Mum sues Apple, Apple Store automatons

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A US district court judge is being asked to award a 15-year-old boy $225,000 (£160,000) because his iPod exploded in his pants.

Being an Apple lawyer is no fun. You have to deal with pesky clone-makers, self-destructing hard drives, flaming iPhones, and now an exploding iPod touch.

Or, as the lawsuit calls it, an "iTouch." Whatever - folks talk diffr'nt in Kentucky.

The lawsuit, filed by the young feller's mommy, Lynette Antrobus [Insert "The Skin of Our Teeth" joke/reference here. —Ed], recounts the following tale of woe:

On December 4, 2008, young "A.V.," as the hot-pants minor is referred to in the lawsuit, was sitting in class in the Commonwealth of Kentucky when he "heard a loud pop and immediately felt a burning sensation on his leg."

Being of sound mind, he "immediately stood up and realized his Apple iTouch had exploded and caught on fire in his pocket."

Exhibiting wise judgment and a commendable sense of modesty, he did not immediately divest himself of said pants at that fiery moment. Instead, he ran to the bathroom and there doffed his dungarees - with "the assistance of a friend," as the complaint details.

The pantsless pyrotechnician then discovered that "the Apple iTouch had burned through [his] pants pocket and melted through his Nylon/Spandex underwear, burning his leg."

We can hear your eyebrows raise at the reference to Nylon/Spandex underwear. Lower them. Your humble reporter has learned that December 4, 2008 was a particularly nasty day in Kentucky, weather-wise, and such underwear is often worn as a thermal aid. No stylin' here, folks, move along.

While any situation involving explosives and pants is, in itself, a knee-slapper, it must be noted with all due seriousness that young A.V. didn't emerge unscathed. The lawsuit notes that A.V. suffered second-degree burns to his leg - not a laughing matter.

However, mommy also also contends that "He continues to suffer from both physical and mental conditions which will cause him to suffer pain, mental distress, emotional distress, and otherwise for the rest of his life."

Whether that contention is or is not risible, we'll leave to your own balancing of pity and disdain.

And while we truly do feel badly for poor A.V., we're not yet worried about a rash of exploding iPods threatening the youth of America. Until more details emerge, his misfortune appears to be an isolated case. One hopes someone had the presence of mind to take the offending "iTouch" to an electrochemical engineer for a full battery autopsy.

What we do find disturbing about this case - in addition, of course, to our new irrational fear that our own iPod will explode in our own pants - is the fact that Mrs. Antrobus is not only suing Apple, but also the staff of Cincinnati's Kenwood Towne Centre Apple Store, charging that since they represented the "iTouch" as safe, they should also be held liable. After all, they "acted with actual malice and committed intentional, reckless, wanton, willful and gross acts."

Lighten up, Mrs. Antrobus. It's highly unlikely that "John Does (1-10)," as you call those hapless Apple Store employees, gathered together in the Apple Store's break room after A.V. walked out with his new iPod, giggling in anticipation of the future conflagration.

Sue Apple. Fine. Get in line. But leave the working-schmo Does out of it. ®

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