Skin Grafts Needed After Samsung Phone Blow-Up

      HACKENSACK, N.J. (CN) — Stumbling through weeks of headlines about its gadgets catching fire, Samsung now faces a court battle with a man who says his phone, a Galaxy S7 Edge, exploded in his pocket.
     The suit in Bergen County Superior Court contains several graphic pictures of Daniel Ramirez’s injuries and up-close pictures of the ruined phone.
     In addition to needing a skin graft on his right leg, Daniel Ramirez says he suffered second-degree burns to two fingers, and second- and third-degree burns to his right upper leg.
      It all happened on May 30, 2016, according to the complaint, when Ramirez was carrying his phone in the front pocket of his pants while working on a construction project in Akron, Ohio.
     Ramirez says he “heard a whistling and screeching sound and noticed his pocket vibrating and moving around, as well as thick smoke ascending from his pocket.”
     When Ramirez reached into his right pants pocket to try to grab the phone out, he “immediately felt his fingers burn.”
     “Suddenly and without warning,” the Sept. 8 complaint continues, “the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge cell phone exploded and caught fire in Mr. Ramirez’s pants – burning directly through his boxers and pants.”
     Ramirez says he was able to remove the cellphone but “was unable to quickly remove his pants and boxers because the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge cell phone ignited his pants and melted them to his leg.”
     The phone “was completely charred and destroyed as a result of the explosion,” according to the complaint.
      Citing recent articles from the BBC and New York Times, Ramirez says “the lithium-ion battery found in all of Samsung’s Newer Galaxy Smartphones includes volatile and flammable chemical compounds that can become unstable if overheated or punctured, which can cause the battery to burst into flames or explode.”
     These articles appeared after Samsung recalled the Galaxy Note 7 on Sept. 1 because of issues with the batteries causing explosions. Compounding the voluntary recall, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission stepped in on Sept. 15 with a formal recall of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7.
     Samsung has not recalled Ramirez’s phone, the Galaxy S7 Edge. In fact, the company had offered Note 7 customers a choice to trade in their Notes for S7 Edges.
     The company’s latest statement on the recall, last updated on Sept. 10, still says that the Note 7 alone is subject to the recall.
     Samsung declined to comment on the specifics of Ramirez’s case, instead passing along a statement on Note 7 replacement devices.
     CFTC intervention has put replacement devices on hold, but Samsung said Thursday they “will be available in the United States at most retail locations no later than Sept. 21.”
     “Customers who exchange a Note 7 device for another Samsung product will also receive a $25 gift card, in-store credit, in-store accessory credit or bill credit from select carrier or retail outlets,” according to Samsung’s statement.
     Despite Samsung’s position, there have been a few reports of Galaxy S7 Edge phones igniting recently. The Sun, a U.K. newspaper, reported this week about an S7 Edge phone exploding in the middle of a busy cafe.
     Digital Trends also quoted a Samsung representative as telling them earlier this week that “there are no known safety issues with Galaxy S7 devices,” and that “this issue is currently being investigated.”
      Ramirez says he is in ongoing, extensive physical therapy after suffering “severe, permanent and life-altering injuries” to his groin, legs and lower back.
     Though his phone allegedly exploded in Ohio, Ramirez is a resident of Patterson, California, and bought his phone at a Best Buy in Modesto.
     He sued the Korean parent and its U.S. subsidiary in New Jersey, where Samsung has a headquarters in Ridgefield Park.
     Ramirez is represented by Marc Simon with Simon & Simon of Camden, N.J.
     He bought his phone on March 11 — the same day as the model’s release.

%d bloggers like this: