Amazon Hides Hoverboard Fire Dangers, Now Facing Product Liability Lawsuits

Amazon Hides Hoverboard Fire Dangers, Now Facing Product Liability Lawsuits

The 6th Circuit United States Court of Appeals has ruled that Amazon knowingly withheld information about hazardous hoverboards during the 2015 holiday season. As you may recall, hoverboards — electronic self-stabilizing “skateboards” that run with a rechargeable battery — were a hot ticket item that year. Unfortunately, many experienced catastrophic lithium-ion battery failures that would cause the device to burst into flames without warning.

When Amazon took some of the defective hoverboards off its website for sale, it did so without direct or clear notice to consumers. The only notification the public received was a loosely worded statement about safety issues reaching the news. It did not detail the specifics of the fire dangers despite that information being available to Amazon at the time. In fact, Amazon had already conducted its own investigation into the devices to uncover the source of the defect.

The news of Amazon’s apparent misdoing by withholding warning information to consumers coincided with a Pennsylvania court ruling that Amazon can be held accountable for the defects of products manufactured and sold by third parties that use the Amazon Marketplace. The ruling stems from a lawsuit in which a plaintiff was blinded in one eye after a dog leash bought on Amazon snapped, recoiled, and struck them in the eye. In the ruling, it was noted that Amazon has the ability to control all aspects of the sales process on its website; thusly, allowing defective products to be sold on its site places product liability on the company, too, not just the manufacturer.

It is now expected for Amazon to be targeted by an influx of product liability lawsuits regarding hazardous hoverboards. In December of 2015 alone, the company reportedly received dozens of complaints from consumers who all said the products would randomly overheat and catch fire.

More importantly, this decision may serve as a precedent for holding Amazon and other internet sellers liable for any defective products that they allow to be sold through their site.  This could be extremely important when  someone is seriously injured by a product manufactured by a defunct or bankrupt company – now there may  be a financially viable internet seller who will have to take responsibility for the harms caused by the defective product.

You can learn more about the hoverboard cases by clicking here and viewing a full article from KNOX News. You can click here to view an International Business Times article regarding the product liability ruling. If you or a loved one have been seriously injured by a hoverboard or another product sold by Amazon, and you live in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area, you can call (310) 896-4345 to connect with Biren Law Group. Our Amazon lawsuit attorneys in Los Angeles would be happy to sit down with you during a FREE consultation to determine if you have a claim, and what you should do next if you do.


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