Tech companies are being sued for various misconduct in the modern era, including addiction among teens, spreading disinformation, and causing divorces. A UK man is now suing the tech giant Apple, claiming that it failed to properly delete texts that ultimately led to his divorce. He is now seeking over $6 million in damages. Does this lawsuit have any merits? Could it pave the way for similar cases in the United States? 

Man Sues Apple for Exposing His Text Messages with Prostitutes

A man in England claims that Apple caused his divorce, pointing out that he would still be married if his iMessages had been properly deleted. Although he erased iMessages from his phone, these messages were not wiped from the family iMac. His wife then stumbled upon them and discovered evidence of his infidelity. Specifically, the messages highlighted his activities with local prostitutes. 

The plaintiff claims that Apple should have informed its users that erasing iMessages on one device would not permanently delete them from the overall “AppleID.” He points out that when you click the “delete” button, the expectation is that these messages will be deleted from existence. It seems that the definition of the word “delete” is slightly different from that of Apple. 

Apple Caused 5 Million Pounds of Divorce-Related Losses

The plaintiff is claiming more than 5 million pounds of damages. This equates to well over 6 million US dollars. It is not clear whether these losses include legal fees, divorce settlements, alimony, child support, or all of the above. The sum may also include non-economic damages, such as loss of consortium. This individual is apparently a “businessman” of some kind, which could imply a relatively substantial net worth. A divorce could have reduced his net worth by roughly 50%, and UK courts can be much less generous to wealthy individuals compared to American divorce courts. After all, London is one of the most popular “divorce tourism” locations for a reason. 

It is not clear how UK courts will react to a situation like this. However, one can expect Apple to respond aggressively. The tech company has dealt with numerous lawsuits in the past. Although this one is fairly unique, Apple has faced similar privacy issues in courts around the globe. 

Similarities With Heartbalm Torts

There are many similarities between this lawsuit and so-called “heartbalm torts” in the United States. Although not every State allows these lawsuits, they are relatively commonand they can lead to significant verdicts. 

The general concept is simple: If someone else causes your marriage to fail, you can sue them for damages. The obvious defendant in this situation is an adulterous individual who engaged in an extramarital affair with the plaintiff’s spouse. However, one might expand this definition to include anyone who ruins a marriage through negligence. 

Although Apple obviously did not engage in an extramarital affair with the UK man’s wife, one might argue that the tech company caused similar levels of damage to the marriage. The only problem is that the plaintiff in this case was also damaging his own marriage by engaging in prostitution. Although it is not clear how an American court would react to a case of this nature, it is certainly something worth thinking about.