A Florida man has filed suit against Samsung Electronics after his Galaxy Note 7 smartphone allegedly exploded in his pocket and caused severe burns to his leg and hand. While Samsung Galaxy Note phones have been in the news recently over the battery defect, this is likely the first lawsuit over the issue.
U.S. regulators cite to nearly 100 reports of overheating batteries in Samsung devices that have been received accross the country. 26 of them have resulted in burns while 55 have resulted in property damage. In some cases, that property damage has been extreme, as more than one car fire has been attributed to the defect.
The Note 7 recall is noteworthy for a variety of reasons; burn issues notwithstanding. Reactions to the defect by both Samsung and government regulators have been more forceful than normally expected in a recall of this nature. Samsung has unequivocally stated that Note 7 owners are to immediately power down their phones and contact the company about a repair or replacement. And, the Federal Aviation Administration has made it illegal to use a Galaxy Note 7 onboard a U.S. flight.
Samsung dominates the Android smartphone market with its Galaxy line. And, while many people equate Apple’s iPhone with a smartphone, they’d be surprised to learn than Galaxy ownership outpaces iPhone ownership in the United States by more than five percentage points. The ferocity of the smartphone wars has some wondering if Samsung rushed the release of the Note 7 to cement that lead and take advantage of a perceived lack of interest in Apple’s current lineup of products, including a lackluster reception for the new iPhone 7.
That desire for smartphone market domination is of little consequence to Jonathan Strobel as he recovers from his burns. His phone is believed to have caused second-degree burns to his right thigh and additional burns to his thumb as he fought to remove the burning phone from his pants pocket.
Samsung has refused to comment, citing the ongoing litigation. That litigation includes claims for damages including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other injuries. 12 million Galaxy Note 7s have been sold this year.