Aram Hovsepian, who filed the suit in U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif., a year ago, had sought to make it a class-action covering all buyers of the allegedly flawed iMacs. But Judge Jeremy Fogel last week ruled that Hovsepian failed to meet the requirements for a class action. Fogel dismissed the suit "without prejudice," which means it could be modified and re-filed.
Hovsepian of Florida had claimed that Apple knowingly sold iMacs with a design and manufacturing defect in the displays. The plaintiff bought an iMac in October 2006 and 17 months later vertical lines appeared on the screen.
Apple's latest iMacs have also come under fire for problems with the displays. Buyers of the 27-inch iMac have posted numerous complaints on the company's support forum. Among the problems cited are flickering, cracked, or yellow-tinged screens.
Apple has declined to comment on the complaints, but released this week a firmware update that fixed problems with the all-in-one computer's graphics cards. The update fixed unspecified problems with the ATI Radeon HD 4670 and 4850 graphics cards made by Advanced Micro Devices. Apple acknowledged that cards running without the fix "may cause image corruption or display flickering."
Meanwhile, the new iMacs, introduced in October, have proven very popular among early buyers who are typically Apple buffs. Mac sales at U.S. retailers in October and November were up 74% from the same period a year ago, with the majority of those sales iMacs, according to NPD Group.