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Popular hoverboards have defects, spur products liability suits

Consumers in Connecticut and nationwide have been purchasing a lot of hoverboards over the holiday shopping season. The product is a scooter that runs on batteries and can be used by children generally in the same manner as skateboards. Unfortunately, the news is emerging of a defect in many of these products that causes them to self-combust and start on fire. Instead of the expected gleeful enjoyment of the hoverboards over the holidays and afterwards, there may be a flood of products liability and class action lawsuits seeking injunctive action and damages against the manufacturers of the reportedly defective products.

In fact, one products liability class action lawsuit has already been filed. The plaintiff sued on behalf of all consumers who purchased a Swagway Hoverboard nationwide from Modell's Sporting Goods. It is alleged that the manufacturer and the retailer failed to notify customers that the hoverboards, when being used properly, could burst into flames and cause serious damage.

The plaintiff alleges that he bought a Swagway Hoverboard for his children over the Hanukkah holiday. When they were charging the device, it burst into fire and damaged his home. This is not the first allegation that a hoverboard can self-combust. Over a dozen hoverboard fires have been reported across the country, with the cause apparently related to the chargers and batteries. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has opened an investigation of the problem.

Other retailers carry these scooters, including Amazon, which took the step of pulling several models, including the Swagway Hoverboard, from its sales lists. The plaintiff in the class action said that he paid $400 for the gift. It ran for 30 minutes, and when put on the charger, it burst into flames within 45 minutes. A private lawsuit based on products liability can be filed in Connecticut in federal or state court by a plaintiff who is injured from a defective hoverboard, or a class action can be filed to certify representation on behalf of a whole class of consumers who purchased public class action on behalf of hundreds or thousands of consumers who suffered the same or similar losses.

Source: NBC Chicago, "Popular Hoverboard Brand Targeted in Class-Action Suit", Dec. 16, 2015

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