Update: Galaxy J7 Explodes Mid-Flight on Airplane in India
October 24, 2017 – A Samsung Galaxy J7 caught fire mid-air on a Jet Airways flight over India, adding to the company’s exploding phone problem just when it appeared things were looking up.
The owner of the Galaxy J7 reported the fire approximately 15 minutes after takeoff, according to India Today.
The phone was being stored inside a handbag along with 2 other cellphones when the incident occurred. Once the passenger detected smoke coming from the device, she alerted flight staff and handed it over to a flight attendant.
The fire extinguisher in the cabin didn’t work, so the attendant was forced to submerge the Galaxy J7 in water to put out the fire. As a precaution, the 2 other cell phones from the handbag were placed in a try of water. Arpita Dhal, the Indian woman who owned all 3 smartphones, was reportedly furious over the lack of proper safety equipment.
“I will complain against Jet Airways after I return home,” Dhal said. “This is a question of safety of passengers in flights. If there is a major fire or blast what will they do when their fire extinguishers don’t work like this.”
Samsung executives have their fingers crossed that the incident was an isolated one, and not a repeat of last year, when the electronics conglomerate was forced to endure one of the worst recalls in history.
The Note 7 debuted in August 2016 to rave reviews for its speed, software features and estimated 9 hours of run-time. However, all that power came at a price: users began reporting the phones were catching fire and/or exploding. All told, the fiasco cost Samsung upwards of $20 billion, and incidents like the recent one in India won’t help re-establish trust in the brand.
Free Confidential Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one was injured by a Samsung phone, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit against the manufacturer and our lawyers can help.
What’s the Problem?
On September 2, 2016, Samsung recalled its flagship smartphone, the Galaxy Note 7, in 10 countries, including the U.S., just 2 weeks after the product was launched. Six days later, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) advised passengers not to use, charge, or even stow Galaxy Note 7 phones on domestic flights.
Airlines in Australia and Singapore have restricted passengers from using or charging the devices during flights. An investigation launched in response to dozens of consumer complaints about Samsung phones catching fire identified a potential battery flaw that affects about 1 in 42,000 units.
Galaxy Note 7 Lawsuits
At least 2 lawsuits have been filed over burn injuries allegedly caused by Samsung phones:
- Daniel Ramirez was working construction at a job site in Akron, Ohio, on May 30, 2016, when his Galaxy S7 Edge allegedly caught fire and exploded in his pocket, causing him second and third degree burns. Ramirez claims he heard a high-pitched whistling noise coming from the pocket, and that the phone caught fire and exploded as he tried to remove it. The complaint was filed on September 8 in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Bergen County.
- Jonathan Strobel suffered second degree burns to his thigh and first degree burns on his fingers after trying to retrieve a burning Galaxy Note 7 from his pocket, according to a lawsuit filed in Florida. Strobel said he hopes to bring more attention to the Samsung Galaxy battery defect, and wants people to know others have been injured and that the phones should have been recalled sooner.
What’s the Difference Between the Note 7 and S7 Edge?
Only slight differences separate the recalled Galaxy Note 7 from the Galaxy S7 Edge, according to Android Authority. The Note 7 has a 3,500 mAh battery, compared to a 3,600 mAh battery in the S7 Edge.
Samsung’s SDI subsidiary makes the potentially defective Note 7 battery at the center of last month’s recall. It is unclear whether SDI also manufactures the S7 Edge’s larger battery.
Safety Concerns with Lithium Ion Batteries
The Samsung Note 7 recall highlights the pressures tech companies face as they look for more powerful, lightweight and quick recharging batteries to power today’s electronic devices. Lithium-ion batteries first became popular in the early 1990s when they were widely used in Camcorders and other handheld video devices. The batteries are useful because they can store large amounts of energy in a small space; however, this same quality also makes lithium-ion batteries dangerous. The more energy stored, the potentially more dangerous a battery becomes.
Note 7 Fires Caused by “Aggressive” Battery Design, Report Finds
December 7, 2016 – A teardown of the Galaxy Note 7 has found that Samsung engineers didn’t allow enough internal space for the phone’s large battery, which caused pressure buildup, short-circuit and fires.
After acquiring a Samsung Note 7, engineers at manufacturing technology company Instrumental took the phone apart to see what was going on inside. They discovered that the battery was so tightly packed inside the device’s body that any pressure from battery expansion, or stress on the body itself, may squeeze together layers inside the battery that are not supposed to touch — with explosive results.
Batteries expand under normal use, and users place stress on a phone’s body when it’s handled roughly or dropped. Allowances for battery expansion are calculated during a smartphone’s design phase; however, Instrumental said that Samsung used “a super-aggressive manufacturing process to maximize capacity.” In other words, the Note 7 was designed to be as thin as possible while simultaneously containing the maximum battery capacity, which significantly increased the likelihood that the devices would catch fire and explode.
Instrumental says the space above a battery inside a device needs a “ceiling” that equates to about 10% of its overall thickness. The Note 7 should have had a 0.5mm ceiling; it had none.
“It breaks such a basic rule, it must have been intentional,” the report concluded. “they shipped a dangerous product.”
The reports of fire and explosion that led to the Note 7 recall highlights the risks involved in packing increasingly more battery power into ever thinner smartphones. The Note 7 debuted in August to rave reviews for its speed, software features and an estimated 9 hours of run-time between charges. However, all that power came at a price: users began reporting the phones were catching fire and/or exploding. All told, the fiasco may cost Samsung more than $20 billion, and reports like the one by Instrumental won’t help re-establish trust in the brand.
Samsung Refuses to Pay for Galaxy Note 7 Fire Damage
October 21, 2016 – A number of people whose property was allegedly damaged when their Galaxy Note 7 smartphones exploded are claiming that Samsung has refused to compensate them for replacement costs.
According to a report in The Guardian, Galaxy Note 7 owner John Barwick was awoken during the night by his phone catching on fire and exploding on his nightstand. He says the incident caused around $9,000 in damage to his bed, carpet and curtains, almost none of which Samsung is willing to pay for.
Barwick claims he called Samsung immediately after the fire and representatives said they’d call back within 24 hours. When they didn’t, he called again and emailed pictures of the damage. “They said they’d call us back,” Barwick said. “They never did.”
Eventually Samsung returned the call and referred Barwick to its insurance company, Samsung Fire & Marine, who refused to pay replacement costs for any of the damaged property. Instead, they offer to pay a depreciated value for the items.
The global Note 7 recall is expected to cost Samsung up to $17 billion in lost revenue, and the company has been criticized for squeezing consumers over every dollar of compensation. Evidence has surfaced of Samsung attempting to keep customers in the dark, as a leaked text from a Samsung representative showed earlier this month.
“I can try and slow him down if we think it will matter, or we just let him do what he keeps threatening to do,” said the text, referring to a customer whose smartphone allegedly suffered fire damage. If the company really wants to move past the Note 7 debacle, many feel that it should consider a major overhaul rather than penny pinching its customers.
Samsung Note 7 Banned on All U.S. Flights
October 17, 2016 – Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones will be banned from all U.S. airline flights after nearly 100 incidents of the devices catching fire and sometimes exploding, according to the Department of Transportation (DOT).
The Galaxy Note 7 ban went into effect at noon on Saturday, with the DOT now considering the devices forbidden hazardous materials.
“We recognize that banning these phones from airlines will inconvenience some passengers, but the safety of all those aboard an aircraft must take priority,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We are taking this additional step because even one fire incident inflight poses a high risk of severe personal injury and puts many lives at risk.”
Samsung said it is working to inform travelers of the ban. The company announced last week that it was halting production of the Note 7 after replacement devices continued to overheat, following a recall of the original model.
“We have encouraged airlines to issue similar communications directly to their passengers,” Samsung said in a press release on Friday. “We realize this is an inconvenience but your safety has to remain our top priority.”
The company has received at least 96 U.S. complaints of Galaxy Note 7 batteries overheating, including 23 new reports since the September 15 recall, according to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC). Samsung has also received 13 reports of burns and 47 reports of property damage associated with Note 7 fires.
“The fire hazard with the original Note 7 and with the replacement Note 7 is simply too great for anyone to risk it and not respond to this official recall,” said CPSC Chairman Elliot Kaye.
The Samsung Note 7 flight ban means the device is now considered a forbidden hazardous material under the Federal Hazardous Material Regulations, which prohibit airline passengers from traveling with lithium cells, batteries or portable electronic devices that are capable of generating a dangerous amount of heat.
If an airline employee sees a customer with a banned Note 7 boarding a flight, the airline must deny boarding to the passenger until the phone is discarded, according to the DOT. Anyone caught trying to sneak one of the phones on board could face fines and criminal prosecution for evasion of a federal flight ban.
Samsung estimates the problem will cost it at least $5 billion to resolve.
Samsung Permanently Discontinues Galaxy Note 7
October 12, 2016 – A day after Samsung told partners and carriers to stop selling its troubled Galaxy Note 7 following reports of fire and explosions in replacement devices, the company announced that it would end production of its flagship smartphone all together. Samsung, once considered South Korea’s largest and most profitable company, now faces a seemingly insurmountable $17 billion in projected revenue loss, based on a Reuters calculation of the cost of the smartphones.
Samsung Halts Production of Galaxy Note 7 Amid Reports of Fire in Replacement Phones
October 10, 2016 – Samsung Electronics is temporarily discontinuing production of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones following reports of replacement devices catching fire, another blow to a company trying to manage one of the worst tech product roll-outs in recent memory.
Samsung’s decision to halt production of the Note 7 followed news that all 4 major U.S. carriers — Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint — have stopped exchanging or selling the devices, according to CNBC.
Problems with the Note 7, which was just released on August 19, emerged at the beginning of last month when Samsung withdrew the phone from 10 countries including the U.S. and Australia over reports of fires and explosion attributed to its lithium-ion batteries. With images of charred phones flooding social media, the unprecedented recall dealt a significant blow to Samsung, South Korea’s largest and most profitable company.
The recall seemed to be on track until last week when at least 8 reports surfaced of similar problems with replacement Note 7s.
AT&T and T-Mobile announced yesterday that they had stopped exchanging recalled Samsung Galaxy Note 7s pending results of the investigation. AT&T said it would still offer customers the option to exchange the device for another Samsung smartphone or device of their choice. T-Mobile said it was halting sales of the Galaxy Note 7, as well as the exchanges.
Replacement Note 7 Catches Fire on Plane
October 6, 2016 – A Southwest flight was evacuated at Louisville International Airport after a man’s replacement Samsung Galaxy Note 7 began smoking at the gate while he was powering it down.
Brian Green, owner of the Note 7, confirmed that he had picked the device up as a replacement at an AT&T store on September 21, according to The Verge. Green said he had powered the phone down and put it in his pocket before the flight was about to begin when it began smoking. He dropped it on the floor and “thick grey-green angry smoke” started pouring from the device.
Green said the Note 7 was about 80% charged when the incident occurred, and that he had only used a wireless charger since receiving the device. The phone was subsequently run through Samsung’s recall eligibility checker, which came back with a “Great News!” message saying it is not affected by the recall.
The flight was evacuated while still at the gate. All passengers and crew exited the plane via the main cabin door and no injuries were reported, according to a Southwest spokesperson.
A colleague of Green’s later went back on the plane to retrieve some personal belongings and said that the Note 7 had completely burned through the carpet and scorched the subfloor of the airplane.
Green said he replaced his last phone after receiving a text message from Samsung about the Note 7 recall, which was issued last month. “I had a green battery indicator, which is supposed to say this is a replaced or ‘known good’ phone,” he said.
The replacement was Green’s third Samsung smartphone. He said he called the company to inform them of the situation and was “put into a ticketing system,” but has not heard back.
This isn’t the first report of a Galaxy Note 7 replacement catching fire. Last week, a customer in China reported that his new device burst into flames while it was charging. Several other customers in South Korea have also reported that their Note 7s have batteries that drain too quickly and/or overheat.
Samsung Investigating Galaxy Note 7 Fire in China
September 29, 2016 – A Chinese man is claiming that his replacement Samsung Galaxy Note 7 caught fire within 24 hours of being shipped to him, raising concerns about whether the company’s problems with battery fires are spreading to newer versions of the smartphone.
A Samsung representative was sent out to meet with the man, 25-year-old Hui Renjie, and take his Note 7 to investigate the problem immediately, but he wanted to go public first, according to Bloomberg. The explosion allegedly resulted in minor burns to 2 of his fingers, as well as damaged his MacBook.
“We are currently contacting the customer and will conduct a thorough examination of the device in question once we receive it,” Samsung said in an e-mailed statement.
Samsung is engulfed in perhaps the worst crisis in its corporate history after customers who purchased its Galaxy Note 7 phones began reporting them catching fire and exploding just days after the devices were released last month. The company announced on September 2 that it would replace all 2.5 million phones sold globally, and that it had uncovered the cause of the battery fires, ensuring customers that the new phones wouldn’t have the same design flaws.
However, the incident in China raises concerns that the replacement Note 7 phones will have the same problems as the old devices, leaving the door open for additional recalls and brand damage. Analysts have estimated that the first recall cost Samsung up to $2 billion.
On Tuesday, Samsung said that 60% of the recalled Galaxy Note 7s have been exchanged in the U.S. and South Korea. About 90% of users have chosen to replace their recalled devices with a new Note 7, the company said.
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Recall Replacements in Stores Now
September 21, 2016 -Samsung has shipped over 500,000 Galaxy Note 7 replacement units to carrier and retail stores in the U.S., the company announced on Tuesday. The smartphones are available for exchange at retail stores today, nearly a week after the CPSC issued a voluntary recall for the devices.
Do I Need a Galaxy Note 7 Recall Lawyer?
The Product Liability Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Samsung recall lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new burn injury cases in all 50 states.
Free Case Evaluation: Again, if you suffered a burn injury from a Samsung Note 7 or other Galaxy smartphone, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and we can help.