Lawyer Suing Apple Over the Loss of His First Child’s Birth Pictures

Backing up your photos is always a good idea, but if your storage device failed and the photos you lost consisted of some very precious family memories, would you hold the hard drive company responsible? Lawyer Perminder Tung would, which is why he is currently suing Apple over the photos of his first child’s birth that were lost when his Apple Time Capsule failed.

Tung is demanding $25,000 in compensation for both the broken Time Capsule and the lost memories, citing the fact that he should have been eligible for a 2010 recall of the device but was excluded because he bought it in 2008. It’s uncertain how Apple will react to the suit — after all $25,000 must seem like spare change to the Cupertino computing giant — but this case could set a strange precedent regarding who exactly is responsible for your data. Is it you? Or the company that manufactured your storage device?

Whatever the final verdict is, the ultimate lesson is simple: especially where photos are concerned, always have backups of your backups… and then maybe back those up too.

(via GigaOM)

Image credit: Baby Colt 3 by xopherlance

  • Mansgame

    I don’t know, as smug as many Apple users are, I can’t feel too sorry for them.  I’m a PC user and I have my pictures backed up 3 ways.  

  • Ernest Nitka

    And have at least one of the set of backups off site in case of fire, etc

  • Kieran Grasby

    Sorry mr lawyer guy, if you only have one copy of your pictures and then you lose that copy then maybe you should’ve backed up more. Particularly if they’re THAT important to you.

  • Guest

    Ehm.. if your backup disk fails you would still have the original files, wouldn’t you…? Something tells me Tung doesn’t understand the basics of backing up data.. it’s not a backup if the file on your backup disk is the only version of the file, you need to have the file stored at least two places.

  • Andrew Seymour

    As a former enterprise backup admin, you always have a back-up of a back-up… and put it on a RAID!

  • Merv

    Doesn’t make sense, if the TC was being used for backup (as the linked article suggests) then the originals are still on the device that has been backed up.
    If he’s deleted the originals, then more fool him.

  • Same_Guest_as_above

     I might have gotten it wrong, as it was a Time Capsule I assumed it was used for backing up data… I just reread it and now I’m not too sure what Tung was using his Time Capsule as (a damn expensive external hard drive that would be the only place in the whole world where he would store his most precious memories… jeez man!).

  • Hurrderrr

    Tung is an idiot. I feel sorry for his clients, if he has any, because all of their data and client files are at risk because he chooses to keep everything on a toy hard drive (apple product).
    Dude deserves nothing except a kick in the head.

  • Smilesbypayet

    This has nothing to do with Apple or PC – it’s all about some guy who should know better, and then is looking for a scapegoat instead of just taking responsibility. He’s an idiot IMO.

  • John Stock

    He’s not an enterprise, he’s an individual.

  • tttulio

    “Lawyer” says it all. Always blaming someone for their mistakes.


  • branden rio

    Why do you bother with such immature comments?

  • branden rio

    As an IT worker, that’s not an excuse.

  • Seriesrover2

    And TEST those backups too that they are working as expected.

  • Renato Murakami

    Sorry guys, but I personally think he has the right to sue. Dunno if it would be right for him to win or not though, that’s up to the judge.

    1. He’s not a photographer, doesn’t work with computers or is an expert. Probably don’t know sh*t about RAID, NAS or whatever. He’s just a guy with a camera and a newborn baby. A lawyer yes, from the original article, which well, doesn’t change anything other than he probably knows more what he’s doing than most of us; 
    2. Here’s a quote from Apple’s main website: “Time Capsule is a revolutionary backup device that works wirelessly with Time Machine in OS X. It automatically backs up everything, so you never have to worry about losing your important files”. So, for someone who isn’t an expert, Time Capsule should be enough. Not to mention it is a product advertised as and with the sole purpose of making backups so the user don’t have to worry about it – that’s the sell; 
    So, here’s what I’m seeing: The guy blindly trusted an Apple product to do what it was supposed to do. But it didn’t. And then he found out that his product might be in the middle of a batch that has problems, but which Apple didn’t want to recall.Dunno if he’ll win or not, but it’s a good thing that he sued Apple… worst case scenario, he did bring some awareness that you can’t trust Time Capsule alone for backuping important stuff.

  • 1electricsheep

    It doesn’t matter what the backup product is; you CANNOT trust a single backup of your most important files!!! As others have said, he should have the original photos on his Mac, right? …Because Time Machine is a *backup* system.

  • Learned that lesson

     You know what? Whether he’s an expert or not, photographer or not, he still is an idiot. Drives FAIL. Even Apple’s. Computers crash. Even Apple’s (though in my experience less frequently than the Windows machines I used in the 20 years before I finally made the permanent switch to Apple). Where are the originals? Back up means that. I am not an expert. I use a Time Capsule, multiple drives, Dropbox AND cloud backup. I once lost a huge Word file to corruption. I surely didn’t try and sue Microsoft for it. I LEARNED from my loss and re-typed all 100 pages from hardcopy. I’ve never lost another file that I could not recover from backup. The pertinent word you used was “blindly”. That was his mistake. HIS mistake. And, being a lawyer, he has to prove how litigious this country is by blaming someone else for his own lapse.

  • Daniel Fealko

    “It automatically backs up everything, so you never have to worry about losing your important files.”  So much for truth in advertising, and for being dumb enough to believe Apple’s hype.

  • ODT

    I suppose it all depends how you look at the Apple advertisements for Time Capsule.

    The current Time Capsule blurb on the UK Apple store says: 
    “One Click. Continuous backup for your Mac” 
    “the nagging need to back up has been replaced by automatic constant protection” “saving everything important”
    “Just set Time Capsule as the designated backup drive for Time Machine, and that’s it” “So you never have to worry about backing up again”
    “Time Capsule is your one place for backing up everything”

    If I wasn’t tech savvy as I am, ie I know something isn’t backed up unless it’s backed up at least 3 times, on 2 different media and one of which is offsite, I would read the Apple blurb as this is it the only back up solution you need.

    If that backup system then packed up and failed, losing my data files I think I would be blaming Apple for the failure.

    Apple doesn’t have any other text saying  this should only be used as part of your backup plans and other means of backup should be employed as well.

    As a lawyer, I’m sure he could push for Apple to be responsible in someway.

    Just my 0.02p worth. 

  • Heal

    What a greedy money grabbing cretin. Was he of ambulance-chasing background by any chance? It sure sounds like it.

  • ODT

    Forgot to mention, if he has deleted his originals because he has backed them up to his TC, then yes he has opened himself up for failure, but being a lawyer doesn’t mean he is a geek with backup knowledge. 

  • John R

    I read this week that the next iteration of Lion allows multiple backup locations of Time Machine.  That’s quite a step forward for Time Capsule/Machine which only allows one backup location.

    That (soon to be old) restriction may give the lawyer some headway in his case, as the operation of Time Machine inhibited automatic multiple copies of the Time Machine data. 

    Personally I don’t think he has a snowflake in Hells chance of success.  If he is that concerned why not take the disk to a data rescue company.

    That said if you don’t have your prized digital data in three places, you haven’t got.

  • Guest

    It’s fair to say that even a non-geek should understand that backup is based on redundancy (and if he didn’t understand that why would he choose to backup at all?) If you delete the original you cannot rely on a “backup”.

  • Richard

    The way time machine (and time capsule work) he could not have deleted the originals without time machine copying that deletion. Time machine takes a snapshot of your hard disk every hour or so; time capsule is just a wireless access point that’s the recipient of these time machine snapshot backups. If he deleted the images by mistake (ugh) then time machine would have updated his image cataloging software with images deleted, but the way time machine works, he could have gone back through the time capsule to the day before to get the images back.

    I agree he’s foolish for not having a second backup of his entire computer. I use SuperDuper! for that daily swapping two externals to/from a fireproof box. I also use Time machine on a time capsule and it works quite well. However, if I accidentally delete a lot of images and time machine backs that “state” up within the hour, then time capsule fails, I’m ####ed if I don’t have my second backup. That’s the state Tung may have been in.

  • Richard

    There is some truth to your comment and I’m both a long term Apple computer user and a time machine/capsule user.

    There is a level of involvement that people need to have with important data that most in this comment thread have. But, Apple appeals to users who want things made simple and easy and time machine and time capsule certainly do this.

    I think, interestingly, that we’re in a transition from a day when many of us who know how these things work and have backups of our backups are in a minority in the computing world and we’re outnumbered by people who have excellent gear but less than excellent understanding and put too much faith in the gear.

  • Chamellieon

    His moves are sickenly greedy to me.

    As per backups, if it doesn’t exist in 3 places, it never existed…

  • Guest

     Time Machine doesn’t delete old files (when you have deleted the original) immediately the next time you do a backup, it only deletes the oldest files when more space is needed. If you have a large enough disk you can go days/weeks/months back in time depending on how much data you change on your disk on a daily basis.

    If you’ve both deleted the original and your only backup disk fails you could be in for trouble.. but I doubt a lawsuit would be successful. I’d rather bet my money on a data recovery service..

  • cloven

    Like so many have suggested, it’s only a backup if you have more then one copy.

    If you “backup” files to an external drive and then delete the original off your computer, you have now done a transfer of the file to another drive NOT a backup. Plain and simple.

  • cloven

     It is true what Apple says.

    The file(s) are on the Time Capsule and your computer. It’s called a backup. Now if you delete those files off your computer, you now have a file transferred to another device and no longer a backup. Now if that device fails, it’s no different if you main computer fails because you have one copy of your file. It’s not Apple’s fault this lawyer doesn’t understand that 1+0 does not equal 2.

  • cloven

    The Time Capsule works exactly as advertized if you have it on all the time and on your network. You change a file on your computer, it changes on your time capsule. You delete a file off your computer, it deletes off your Time Capsule, but you can then go back to another point in your Time Capsule and grab it again if this was a mistake. Now if you delete the file off your computer and then the external drive that has the ONLY copy of the file now fails, it’s not because your “back up system” has failed because there was no backup. One should be aware enough to know there is no difference between having 1 copy of a file on any system that it’s no longer backed up.

    Like I said before, 1+0 does not = 2. That’s all the Apple lawyers are going to have to say in court.

  • John Kantor

    Newborns are ugly as sin.

  • Guest

    He’s a lawyer. What did you expect him to do?

  • Jax

     I use Mac but I still have multiple back-ups. Anyone who relies on one system is asking for trouble…

  • simonhowes

    Time Machine is not a backup but a live copy. It is also unreliable for files that you deleted, if you deleted a file several months back, Time Machine will delete its copy to save disk space. I have a 2TB external drive on my Mac, my Mac has a 500GB drive and Time Machine fills the 2TB drive after a month and starts purging old data.

  • Envik

    lol! He sued apple for loosing data!
    He could have used Photo Saver to recover photos if he took it from his iPhone and if at all they are present in his iPhone’s backup –

  • Guest

    Same, same.. perhaps slightly different. As long as you keep the original TM _is_ a backup, the moment you delete the original the version on TM isn’t a backup anymore but the only version of the file (unless you also have other backups).. and will be deleted when TM needs the space.

  • Richard

    That’s true, I mistakenly conflated mirror backups with the way time machine works. We just don’t know how full his time capsule was so don’t know the frequency of eating oldest backups or when, if all at once, he deleted his originals.

    I agree, data recovery would be the thing to try rather than a lawsuit and no doubt this will come up in his trial. Apple has lawyers too.

  • rtfe

    or amateur at best

  • Jay

    Hard Drives are TEMPORARY storage.  This is something everyone should be told when purchasing a computer, because it is the truth.  Not what we want to hear, but anything that is of value needs to be backed up to one or more additional sources.  If you read the warranty for any hard disk, it clearly states that they are not responsible for the actual contents of the drive.  And if they are that important, there are data recovery services that do low-level recovery.  Drive failure is not the platter losing its ability to store data, its mechanical.

    BTW, how does one realistically put a value on baby photos, unless taken by a paid photographer?  They do have sentimental value, but would child A be worth more than child B?  And what about the number of photos?  If they are lost, where is proof that they existed in the first place?

  • Joey Duncan

    This comment is not logical.

    “As per backups, if it doesn’t exist in 3 places, it never existed… ”

    Maybe you mean “if it’s not backed up in three places the BACKUP doesn’t exist?” IDK….. 

    But I agree, he shouldn’t be allowed to sue Apple for his mistake. 

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  • Val E1005

    Technical issues or not aside… from this doo doo of a lawyer to the Penn St. sex trial or neighborhood watch captains. It seems that more & more people refuse to be responsible for their own actions.

  • Pete

    Why does everyone presume he deleted the files leaving no “back up”? Perhaps he was using the entire product line as advertised and as it “should” work. i.e. he copied the photos to his computer and reused the memory card, that’s a normal process, then on top of that, he backed up the images to his Time Capsule.

    All normal and reasonable at this point. Yes, I too would make a 3rd copy, but we aren’t all admins that have lost GB’s of data at some point or another are we?

    Then, his computer fails, as they do and he’s OK, because he has a back up. Right? Wrong, his back up failed too.

    So he sues Apple and learns from now on to make multiple copies of his important files like all of us smarty-pants here. I hope he wins. He is asking for a reasonable amount of money for a product that failed to work as advertised.


  • Jlwilliams614

    A few months ago I lost some photos because a western digital external hard drive failed. Does that make western digital responsible for my loss? No! Yes I was upset then and would never purchase another of their crap devices but ant the end of the day I am the one responsible for what I used it for regardless of what the device claim to do. Some people needs to take responsible for their loss and stop blaming others. I guess if he falls out of bed and hurt himself he will sue the bed maker for the fall and the architect/contractor for the floor that he broke his ass on!

  • Cloven

    So you’re trying to argue that both his system and his backup system failed at the same moment? Where does it say this? You’re really reaching here. You sound like someone who just doesn’t like Apple and hopes someone can get something from them to satisfy your feelings.

    Also, did he not send a single photo over email to any friends/family? Did he not print a single copy to hang on a refrigerator? I guarantee there are additional copies of the files out there. He’s an opportunist.

  • Pete

    I’m not arguing at all.

    I am also not claiming that both systems “failed at the same moment”. I just pointed out that perhaps he did take the basic steps of making a back up and that process failed.

    I have zero stats to back it up, but in my own experience most people find out that their back ups didn’t work, aren’t working, etc… when they need them. i.e. When their primary system fails and they then proceed to restore from back up only to find the back up didn’t.

    What’s your gurantee that there are additional copies “out there”? Mr Tung might want to take you up on it.

    And for your information, I am actually a pretty big Apple fan. I have many Apple products that I use and enjoy very much. So I guess there goes your argument that I’m an Apple hater and want to see them fail.



  • Sam Chua

    Lawyers will do anything for attention.
    My important pictures are stored on a Drobo array. My irreplaceable ones are backed up to DropBox as well.

  • Pete

     Actually, if you click through the article to the orignal news report on CBC, they show the actual Notice of Claim in the BC courts. Point 14 says that his iPhone, one of the devices backed up to the Time Capsule, failed before he had replaced the failed TC. Effectively proving my exact point, he had 2 copies and they both failed.


  • Merv

    Thanks for the lesson… not sure how what I said is wrong? 
    I use a TC, pretty familiar with how it works.

    All I was saying was that if a TC fails, it doesn’t take the originals with it.  He would have had to delete them himself.

  • Richard

    Merv: What you said isn’t wrong. I was mistaken in my early reply. The only way he’d lose the early baby shots is if he himself had deleted them from his computer early on in the process (thinking that TM had them) and then, later, TM ate its young (deleted earliest backups) to make room for new ones.