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Warning: the bottom of this post includes graphic images.
It’s no surprise that Samsung is facing what appears to be its first lawsuit after its recall of the Galaxy Note 7. What is surprising is that the exploding phone in question is actually the (non-recalled) Galaxy S7 Edge—and that the harm to the plaintiff appears staggering.
On May 30, construction worker Daniel Ramirez was working at a site in Akron, Ohio, when he heard a strange noise coming from his pocket, which contained the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge he’d bought just two months earlier. “It was like a high-pitched whistling noise,” Ramirez’s attorney, Mike Morgan, said in an interview with Ars. “After that there was an explosion, like a loud bang.”
Ramirez tried to get the phone out of his pocket, but succeeded only in burning his fingertips. “It melted his clothes to his body, so he had to strip down,” Morgan said. “By that time, the damage had been done.”
Today, Ramirez continues to go through rehab, Morgan said. He has had multiple skin grafts back in his home state of California.
Now, Ramirez has sued (PDF) Samsung in New Jersey, where the company’s North American branch is headquartered.
The complaint, filed on September 8, includes photos of Ramirez’s husk of a phone, his charred pants, and gruesome pictures of the skin grafts and scars on his leg.
Samsung has offered all buyers of the Galaxy Note 7 a replacement phone, and one of the options is the S7 Edge.
Morgan says he wants to do discovery to determine whether the problem is a problem with the Note or a problem with Samsung smartphones more generally. “If you compare them, the damage [to the phone] is almost identical, and the burn pattern as well,” Morgan notes.
Ramirez hasn’t requested a specific amount of damages at this point.
The lawsuit accuses Samsung of selling unsafe phones, negligence, breach of warranty, and violating New Jersey consumer protection laws.
“We are aware of Mr. Ramirez’s incident,” a Samsung spokesperson said via e-mail. “We don’t comment on pending litigation.”
Below are two of the images included in Ramirez’s complaint.
They were first published on ClassAction.com, a website partially owned by Morgan’s law firm. (Ramirez’s lawsuit does not seek class action status.)