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Samsung Issues Global Recall After Replacement Phones Spontaneously Combust

On Behalf of | Oct 12, 2016 | Jonathan M. Thomas, Products Liability

Samsung’s attempt to fix their spontaneously combustible Galaxy Note 7 smartphones is officially over now that the replacement phones have started catching fire.

The company began sending customers replacement devices in September after they initiated a global recall to address the faulty battery issue but reports of those second devices still catching fire has pressured Samsung to stop production of their product entirely. They issued a statement earlier this week, stating that:

“We are working with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to investigate the recently reported cases involving the Galaxy Note7. Because consumers’ safety remains our top priority, Samsung will ask all carrier and retail partners globally to stop sales and exchanges of the Galaxy Note7 while the investigation is taking place.”

At least two cases of the replacement phone spontaneously combusting have been reported. The first account to make headlines took place on a Southwest Airlines Co. flight destined for Baltimore, MD. According to Sarah Green, her husband Brian’s phone began emitting smoke while it sat on a runway in Louisville, KY ahead of its scheduled departure. She told Reuters that Green had replaced his phone approximately two weeks before the incident after receiving a text message from Samsung. The plane was evacuated after the phone began emitting smoke, and luckily no injuries were reported.

The second account to make headlines supposedly took place earlier on the same day as the incident on the plane but wasn’t acknowledged by Samsung in public until after news outlets picked up the story later in the week. According to Michael Klering, he and his wife woke up early in the morning to a bedroom completely filled with smoke. He told WKYT, the local CBS affiliate that:

“The whole room just covered in smoke, smells awful. I look over and my phone is on fire… The phone is supposed to be the replacement, so you would have thought it would be safe. It wasn’t plugged in. It wasn’t anything, it was just sitting there.”

Klering drove himself to the hospital later in the day after vomiting black and suffering from smoke inhalation, and was diagnosed with acute bronchitis. After Klering refused to turn possession of his burned phone over to Samsung, the company paid for an x-ray of the device. He initially believed that Samsung was doing what they could to help him up until he received a text message clearly meant for someone else that read:

“Just now got this. I can try and slow him down if we think it will matter, or we just let him do what he keeps threatening to do and see if he does it.”

Samsung issued their first recall of approximately 2.5 million phones on September 2, but have since stopped all sales and production of their phones across the globe with no word on when or if they plan to resume production. Analysts expect that the company will lose approximately $17 billion they expected to make via the sale of up to 19 million phones through the product’s life cycle, a $12 billion increase over initial loss estimates from the first round of recalls. This doesn’t take into account the unknown impact the defect will have on the Samsung brand name heading into the future.

Devon Bruce and Jonathan Thomas of Power Rogers, LLP are currently handling a case involving a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 that spontaneously combusted and caused our client to suffer serious burns across his legs. If you or someone you know has been injured following the spontaneous combustion of their Samsung Galaxy Note 7, give us a call at 312-500-1792 to speak with a Chicago product liability attorney, or fill out our online form to begin your free case evaluation today.

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