A 28-year-old man whose Galaxy Note7 exploded in his pocket while at work in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, this month has filed a lawsuit against Samsung, according to his lawyer.
Man suffers “deep second-degree burns”
Keith Pierro, a partner with Gold and Gold Law based in Boca Raton and Miami, said his client, Jonathan Strobel, suffered severe and “deep second-degree burns” on his right thigh and thumb when the phone exploded. He said hours after the incident, Strobel received an email from Samsung telling him to turn in his phone because of issues with the device overheating.
The lawsuit — which Pierro thinks is one of the first in the country — requests $15,000 in compensatory damages and was filed Friday morning.
“Samsung is a big corporation and they control the information that’s put out. They obviously knew what was wrong (with the phone),” he said. “Unfortunately for Mr. Strobel, it was too late for the mandatory recall.”
Samsung issued a voluntary exchange of the smartphone on September 2 following reports of some batteries overheating and catching fire. Soon after, the company issued an unprecedented recall saying all owners of the phone must shut down the device because they “can overheat and pose a safety risk.” In addition, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a warning asking airplane passengers to not use or charge their Galaxy Note7 devices on planes.
On the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website, officials cite 92 reported cases of the Samsung phone overheating. Of those incidents, there were 26 reported burns and 55 cases of property damage including “fires in cars and a garage.”
On September 9, Strobel was working at Costco at 3250 Northlake Boulevard in Palm Beach Gardens when the phone he placed in his right pocket exploded, according to the complaint. Pierro said when Strobel realized what was happening, he attempted to remove the phone from his pocket and burned his thumb in the process. Soon after, he was able to take his pants off and be treated. Palm Beach Gardens Fire Rescue previously told The Palm Beach Post the phone appeared to have melted inside his pants.
Strobel was one of dozens of Galaxy Note7 device owners who have had their phones catch fire in recent days, and he’s not the only one in Florida.
On September 8, a man’s Jeep caught fire in St. Petersburg as he charged the phone in the vehicle. He told investigators he went inside to drop some things off and when he walked outside, his car was in flames. Less than a week later, Port St. Lucie Police responded to a car fire where the driver told investigators he had been charging his Galaxy Note7 before the fire began on September 13.
“The new iPhone7: It doesn’t explode.”
Pierro said when Strobel first told him about the incident, he thought the injuries wouldn’t be terrible.
“This can’t be as bad as it sounds … Then I saw the injury,” he said. “He’s in the healing process, but it’s going to be a long road.”
Messages left with Strobel were not returned Saturday. On his Facebook page, Strobel’s profile picture is an Apple logo with the text: “The new iPhone7: It doesn’t explode.”