In the past few months, there have been two significant lawsuits filed, both involving fires caused by overheated hoverboards. The lawsuits are completely independent of one another and were filed in different jurisdictions.
First, the families, of two young girls killed by an exploding hoverboard in March 2017, have filed a civil lawsuit against the manufacturer and seller of LayZ Boards, seeking over $500,000 in damages. The families claim that those named in the lawsuit were negligent in advertising a device known to overheat and ignite.
The plaintiffs blamed the LayZ Board device for the death of 2-year-old Ashanti Hughes and 10-year-old Savannah Dominick in a fire at a home in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The complaint alleges that the deadly blaze started when the charging hoverboard overheated and exploded. The blaze spread from the initial location near the front door, causing the little girls to become trapped on an upstairs ledge. The ledge eventually gave way and sent the girls falling into the fire below.
After an investigation, fire officials determined that the hoverboard caused the girls’ deaths. Additionally, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission blamed the product for the fire, and has since warned consumers to stop using those hoverboards.
The families were renting the home, and are also suing the landlords, alleging that there were no smoke detectors nor a fire escape plan. Neither the manufacturer nor the seller had made a comment on the lawsuit at the time of this draft.
This lawsuit comes just a few months after a Georgia man filed a similar lawsuit against Amazon, after the hoverboard he purchased on the site caught fire in his home and burned him so severely that doctors were forced to place cadaver skin over his severe burns. He suffered burns on his head, face, back, and shoulders.
Irvin Love had purchased the hoverboard through Amazon, intending for it be a gift for his girlfriend’s daughter. However, it ended up torching him and his home instead. At the time that it ignited, the hoverboard was not plugged in. Yet it started a fire so hot that it melted the gun safe in Love’s home.
In his complaint against Amazon, Love claims that Amazon knew that it was facilitating the shipment of poor-quality hoverboards from China, which contained lithium-ion batteries that could be dangerous. The complaint goes on to say that, prior to Love’s house being burned down, Amazon was aware of multiple instances of fires across the country caused by similar hoverboards sold through its website, but did not warn customers who had purchased them subsequently.
Love’s lawsuit also names a series of additional defendants, including those companies involved in making and importing the hoverboard and its component parts, including the lithium battery. The suit accuses the companies of failing to warn consumers about the dangers of the product, and it also claims that the companies failed to properly design, manufacture, and test the hoverboards.
In 2016, more than 500,000 hoverboards were recalled by 11 different companies. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website, over 250 hoverboard incidents involving fires has been reported since 2015.