A California man is suing Samsung Electronics America in Bergen County, claiming he was severely burned when his cellphone exploded and caught fire in his pants, according to court documents.
The phone, a black Verizon Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, was imported through the plant at 85 Challenger Road and sold March 11 at a Best Buy store in Modesto, Calif., according to the lawsuit filed last month in Bergen County Superior Court.
Daniel Ramirez claims he traveled two months later to Akron, Ohio and was working a construction job at 9 a.m. on May 30 when he felt the phone moving in his right front pants pocket.
“Shortly after arriving to the job site, Mr. Ramirez heard a whistling and screeching sound and noticed his pocket vibrating and moving around, as well as thick smoke ascending from his pocket,” states the lawsuit, filed by Marc I. Simon of Camden.
Ramirez reached into his pocket for the phone and “immediately felt his fingers burn,” according to the suit.
“Suddenly and without warning, the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge cell phone exploded and caught fire in Mr. Ramirez’s pants – burning directly through his boxers and pants and engulfing Mr. Ramirez’s leg in flames,” the suit states.
The flaming phone “ignited his pants and melted them to his leg, leaving Mr. Ramirez in shock and extreme pain,” the lawsuit claims.
Ramirez was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital, where he was treated for second-degree burns to his right thumb and index finger. He also suffered second and third-degree burns to his upper right leg and underwent skin graft surgery, the lawsuit states.
The phone was charred and destroyed.
Included with the lawsuit are several photos of Ramirez’s leg injury, burned clothing and charred phone.
The suit seeks damages in excess of $15,000, claiming Ramirez has suffered “serious and permanent bodily injuries, permanent impairment, disability, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment in life” and medical bills.
The suit claims Samsung knew of faulty Lithium-ion batteries in their newer phones. The batteries contain “volatile and flammable chemical compounds that can become unstable if overheated or punctured, which can cause the battery to burst into flames or explode,” according to the suit.
“Samsung breached the duty owed to Mr. Ramirez by negligently selling, manufacturing, designing, testing, assembling, supplying, importing, and/or distributing the Galaxy S7 Edge cell phone,” the lawsuit alleges.
Samsung declined to discuss the lawsuit on Monday.
“We are aware of Mr. Ramirez’s incident,” a company spokeswoman wrote in an email. “We don’t comment on pending litigation.”
Also Monday, Samsung announced it had temporarily halted production of another Samsung phone, the Galaxy Note 7, amid reports that a number of those devices had caught fire, according to The New York Times.
Five weeks earlier, Samsung said it would recall 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 phones after reports of battery fires, suggesting that it has not been able to fix the problem, according to the Times report.
According to Forbes.com, recent incidents involving the Galaxy Note 7 include a room filled with smoke and the forced evacuation of a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 due to a burning Note 7.
Click on this link to learn more about Samsung and their faulty battery.