A Costco worker’s cellphone blew up while he was working in the store earlier this month, he says. Not with phone calls — but with searing heat in his pocket.
The explosion in Jonathan Strobel’s pants ignited what’s believed to be the first U.S. lawsuit against Samsung over the phone recalled by the government last Thursday. Strobel is suing Samsung in Palm Beach County Circuit Court for minimum damages of $15,000 on the grounds of product liability, negligence by Samsung and a breach of implied warranty.
His attorney, Gold & Gold’s Keith Pierro, said Strobel suffered second-degree burns about the same size as the phone on his upper right thigh and burns on his left thumb from trying to yank the hot phone from a pocket.
‘Samsung was obviously aware of the danger,” Pierro said. “Unfortunately, for my client, the recall came a week too late.”
Anecdotal evidence from as far away as Australia and as near as St. Petersburg put the consumers on notice there might be a problem with the phone’s battery overheating to the point of catching fire. On Sept. 2, Samsung stopped sales of the Galaxy Note 7 while offering to replace any Note 7s with new ones. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a recall on Thursday.
According to the suit, Strobel had his Galaxy Note 7 for 20 or 21 days when the phone exploded in his right front pocket. As the phone burned through his pants, he reached over with his left hand to grab it, thus burning that thumb.