Parents blame FaceTime for death of 5-year-old daughter, sue Apple

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AUBREY, Texas – A Texas couple are suing Apple, claiming its FaceTime app is responsible for the death of their 5-year-old daughter.

James and Bethany Modisette say Apple was granted a patent in 2014 for a FaceTime design that would’ve used GPS tracking to determine speed of travel to prevent people from using the app while driving, reports Courthouse News.

Moriah Modisette, 5, died in a fatal car accident on Christmas Eve in 2014. (GoFundMe)

Yet Apple never implemented the design, nor did it strongly warn drivers against using the app, per the lawsuit filed Friday. As a result, Garrett Wilhelm, 22, was able to use FaceTime while driving 65mph on Interstate I-35 near Dallas on Christmas Eve in 2014, when he slammed into the back of the Modisettes’ vehicle, which had slowed with other vehicles because of a traffic accident, say police.

Wilhelm’s vehicle rolled “up and over the driver’s side of the Modisette car,” the lawsuit states. Driver James and 5-year-old Moriah, seated behind him, were both critically injured.

James, Bethany, and 8-year-old daughter Isabella were taken by ambulance to Denton Regional Medical Center, along with Wilhelm, while Moriah was airlifted to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, where she died of her injuries, reports the Denton Record-Chronicle.

Wilhelm—whose FaceTime app was still active when officers arrived on the scene, say police—now faces a manslaughter charge. But Apple’s failures “were a substantial factor in causing the plaintiffs’ injuries and decedent’s death,” the lawsuit states.

Apple has not responded. (This woman was on FaceTime when a deadly tornado struck.)

This article originally appeared on Newser: Parents Sue, Blame FaceTime for Death of Daughter

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  • howdoilovethee

    So sad. They’re desperately searching for someone to blame, when the guilty party has already been charged in her death. Oh, and because Apple has deep pockets too. Lawyers, smdh.

  • Kellie

    So sad and tragic, but this is not apples fault; it’s the driver of that vehicle. I’m all fixing legitimate issues, but this doesn’t fall there bases off what I read in the article. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family.

  • The count

    Ah, the good ole days of full service gas stations, walking your groceries home in the stores cart and returning it the next shopping day. Waiting for the morning paper on the porch to get your first news of the day, I can smell the print…hmm.

  • confused

    This is not Apple fault-it is the driver who used it inappropriately. If the parents cannot see that then maybe they should NOT ever have left their house as bad drivers are everywhere. If they would have just stayed home. Personal responsibility falls on the driver who caused the wreck. As far as Mom being on Facetime during a tornado-pot kettle, baby.

  • RICH

    Does this mean that if someone buys a gun and it somehow someway shoots somebody I am not liable for it?
    Ok back to reality now. The driver is trying to use apple to redirect any attention he haves on him about a little girl.

    • confused

      Rich: it’s not the driver who may have been using Facetime, it’s the parents of the dead girl doing the suing. They feel it’s Apples’ fault for not restricting its use, not operator error.

  • cf

    Everything is all about money.. As long as you can make a dime off your tragedy than that makes it all better. I am quite sure the driver who was facetiming will be charged convicted and jailed and have to live with this horror the rest of their life.. But why not get some money from Apple who has nothing to do with it while we’re at it… Good ole america.. Ching ching let the cash register ring….

  • AL Rivera

    This is nothing but a money grab. there’s 2 sides to this coin.. if apple is guilty for not implementing the way gps could track speed/ distance .. these parents are guilty for choosing the road they traveled on ; and the time they decided to take that path . im sorry they lost there child and they are in anguish ; but the BLAME belongs solely to Garrett Wilhelm. he could have been talking on the phone or switching on the radio, or lighting up a cigarette .. the same outcome probably would have happened.. God bless there family.

  • Ladymcarp

    Not Apple’s fault, but some enterprising, ambulence-chasing lawyer has convinced the family they can cash in on this unfortunate accident.

  • Stop The Madness

    So sad that this little girl died! BUT, her untimely death is not Apple’s fault nor their problem! Rejoice knowing your child is with Jesus, and drop the Junk Lawsuit!

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