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Samsung Faces First Class Action Lawsuit Over Fire-Prone Note 7

21027306669_9a8485e5a9_oBy Christina Aryafar

On October 11, 2016, Samsung Electronics announced that it is stopping production of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones after several reports that the phone overheated and caught fire.  Less than one week later, John Waudby of Nevada, Robert Spuntak of Pennsylvania, and Mohamad Ibrahim of California filed a consumer class action lawsuit against Samsung in New Jersey federal court.  Waudby v. Samsung Elecs. Am., Inc., No. 2:16-cv-07334-CCC-JBC (D. N.J.).  While Samsung is facing several other lawsuits in connection with the exploding phones (see, e.g., Taylor v. Samsung Elecs. Am., Inc., et al., No. 3:16-cv-50313 (N.D. Ill.), Strobel v. Samsung Elecs. Am., Inc., et al., No. 9:16-cv-81755-KAM (S. D. Fla.), and Covert v. Samsung Elecs. Am., Inc., et al., No. 5:16-cv-06041-HRL (N.D. Cal.)), the Waudby Complaint is the first to assert classwide allegations. 

The Waudby plaintiffs allege that they suffered monetary damages while waiting for a replacement for their Note 7 phones because they “continued to incur monthly device and plan charges from their cellular carriers for phones they could not safely use.”  Compl., ¶ 4.  They assert causes of action for breach of express warranty, common law fraud, and breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing on behalf of a nationwide class consisting of “[a]ll persons and entities in the United States who purchased or leased a Samsung Galaxy Note 7.”  Compl., ¶ 32.  In the alternative, plaintiffs – perhaps anticipating that the court may reject their multi-state claims – seek to represent three sub-classes of Note 7 customers from Nevada, Pennsylvania, and California. 

Plaintiffs seek monetary and punitive damages, as well as an injunctive relief requiring Samsung to repair, recall, or replace the Note 7s.