A family in Nashville, Tennessee, has filed a $30m lawsuit against Amazon, claiming that the online retailer should be held liable for a hover board they bought for their son as Christmas present that burned their house down.
The mother, Megan Fox bought what she thought was a FITBURO® F1 with an “original Samsung advanced battery” from a company called “W-Deals” through Amazon’s website on 3 November 2015, according to the complaint. They received the hover board and left it in a closet until Christmas, when it was given to her 14-year-old son.
However, on 9 January 2016, the HB’s battery apparently exploded – a common occurrence that led to the recall of more than 500,000 hoverboards by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in July.
Two of the family’s children were at home at the time of the fire and had to escape by breaking windows and jumping from the second floor. The million-dollar house and most of the family’s belongings were completely burnt.
Amazon is not generally liable for the behavior of third-party merchants who use its platform to sell their products. But according to the lawsuit, “W-Deals” was a “sham entity” selling counterfeit products from China.
The Fox family’s attorney told the Tennessean that they “spent months” trying to track down the actual manufacturer of the faulty hoverboard but were unsuccessful.
According to Tennessee product liability law, if no manufacturer can be found, the law allows a plaintiff to go after the “seller” instead – in this case, which is why they went after Amazon..
The suit also alleges that Amazon was negligent in failing to warn customers about safety problems with hoverboards, which it claims should have been known to the company prior to 9 January 2016. Amazon began pulling some hoverboards from the site in mid-December 2015 over safety concerns.
Source: The Tennessean