Jacob Maslow Blog | Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Recalled For Product Defects: Who Could Be Liable? | Talkmarkets
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Jacob Maslow is a leading financial writer and accomplished author with bylines at business.com, huffingtonpost.com, patch.com, streetwisejournal.com and dozens of other leading publications. The native New Yorker brings his passion for the financial world to the forefront of every article with ... more

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Recalled For Product Defects: Who Could Be Liable?

Date: Tuesday, November 29, 2016 12:22 PM EST

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 phones have been recalled for a dangerous product defect: Combusting batteries.

 

The problem is so serious that the phones have been banned from airports and planes. They also cannot be shipped by mail.

 

The devices have been cited in at least 100 incidents of overheating, sometimes even causing injury to phone owners.

 

Samsung has stated that it is working hard to identify and resolve the problem. However, the fact that Samsung self-tested the batteries used in the Galaxy Note 7 – an uncommon practice – has raised serious questions about the company’s potential liability.

 

Samsung Self-Tested Phone Batteries

 

Cheap batteries from inexperienced manufacturers are usually to blame in incidents in which phones or other electronic devices overheat.

 

To mitigate the problem, the majority of phone manufacturing companies have their phones’ batteries tested by an independent third party prior to making them available for sale.

 

For example, Apple Inc. told Nasdaq.com that it used CTIA-certified, third-party labs for testing. CTIA is an acronym for Cellular Telephone Industries Association.

 

However, Samsung did not take this route. Instead, the South-Korean based company tested its phones in a lab that it owns.

 

According to the CTIA, Samsung is the only phone manufacturer that uses in-house battery testing, which may ultimately prove to be highly costly. Fortune reports that total losses for Samsung over the Note 7 now total more than $5 billion.

 

Injured By a Samsung Phone? Could Samsung Be Held Liable?

 

To date, no serious injuries or damages have been reported that involve the Samsung phones. However, if a person did suffer injuries, he or she may have questions about whether Samsung could be held liable.

 

A manufacturer has a duty to ensure that any product it manufactures is safe for consumer use, and that reasonable steps are taken to guarantee that safety.

 

As such, the maker of defective batteries could possibly be held liable for any injuries that the batteries cause as could Samsung for failing to properly test the batteries.

 

To recover compensation, a plaintiff would need to prove that Samsung owed a duty of care, and the company breached this duty of care via an act of negligence, ultimately leading to the plaintiff’s harm.

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