Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 Recall

Samsung has recalled all its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones after a series of fires and explosions.  At first Samsung was offering replacement phones, but when these too showed a tendency to explode, Samsung has now apparently pulled the entire product line.  And it is now against the law to even take one of these devices on board a commercial flight.

Like most other electronic devices, the Galaxy Note 7 is powered by a lithium ion battery.  It has been known for years that lithium ion batteries can experience something called “thermal runaway.”  When this happens it creates the possibility of a fire or an explosion.  Fortunately, this is very rare but Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 seems to have a higher probability of experiencing this problem.

As consumers demand faster and faster devices with shorter charging times manufactures may be pushing the limits of lithium ion technology.  This can lead to disastrous results.  Most of the lithium ion batteries used in Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 smartphones is actually supplied by its affiliate, Samsung SDI Company, Inc…  However, some of the batteries used in the Galaxy Note 7 may have been supplies by Amperex Technology, a subsidiary of TDK Corporation, a Japanese company.  The Samsung SDI batteries are manufactured in Cheonan, South Korea and in Tianjin, China but put together in a Vietnamese facility.

Samsung has stated that the problem with its Galaxy Note 7 is a flaw in the battery cell, not the smartphone itself.  It stated that the battery allowed the positive and negative electrodes coming together.  This was described as a minor flaw in the manufacturing process.  However, some analysts have opined that the problem is that the separators failed, thus allowing the electrodes to touch.  Whatever the problem is, it is clear that an electronic device that can explode or catch on fire under any circumstances is unreasonably dangerous and therefore defective.  Samsung, to its credit, did the right thing when it promptly ceased the sale of its smartphone.

The law throughout the Country is that defective products, when they hurt people, exposes the manufacturer to liability for damages.  The lawyers at Jinks, Crow and Dickson have many years of experience in pursuing product liability cases on behalf of our clients.  If you have an electronic device, it is almost certainly powered by a lithium ion battery.  Always use the charging device that was manufactured and sold for use with your device.  And if you own a Galaxy Note 7 Smartphone, do what Samsung has recommended: turn it off.

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