By Colin Wood
Samsung Galaxy Note7 smartphones are banned from all commercial planes, but the Plaintiffs who have filed a class action lawsuit against the maker of the smartphone are hoping that the District Court of New Jersey will not ban their complaint from the courtroom. If this is the first time you are hearing of this lawsuit or have not seen the effects of a faulty lithium battery then this post should help you better understand why a large group of people are suing Samsung. More importantly if you own a Samsung Note7 smartphone and have suffered similar injuries, then use this article as guidance for potential solutions and next steps.
The complaint was filed October 16, 2016 in the District Court for the District of New Jersey Newark Division as a class action representing a “Nationwide Class” on behalf of all people who purchased or leased a Samsung Galaxy Note7. Additionally, the plaintiffs include sub-classes of consumers of the Note7 in Pennsylvania, California, and Nevada as those are the three states where individuals have brought claims against Samsung.
The plaintiffs or “class” allege that Samsung is guilty of breach of express warranty, common law fraud, and breach of good faith and fair dealing for their unfair business practices while the phone was being recalled. First, the breach of express warranty claim states the defendant Samsung expressly warranted to Plaintiffs and the Class members that the Note7s were of high quality and, at a minimum, safe. [The] defendant breached this warranty by selling to Plaintiffs and the Class members Note7s that were subject to a known and dangerous defect and known to fail prematurely. Secondly, plaintiffs allege common law fraud because the defendant made material misstatements and omissions concerning the availability of replacement Note7s. As a result, Plaintiffs and Class members were fraudulently induced to continue incurring and paying monthly charges and fees for their Note7s, which they could neither use nor replace. Third, Samsung is accused of breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing because every contract in Pennsylvania, California, and Nevada contains an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. The defendant breached the covenant of good faith and fair dealing by failing to notify Plaintiffs and Class members that replacement Note7s would not be made available in a timely manner, or that the Note7 would be discontinued entirely.
Although Samsung has not filed an Answer to the complaint, it is safe to assume they are gathering legal teams to conjure a plan to fight these claims in a formal trial or mitigate the damage through a settlement agreement. Samsung has its hands full with litigation as the company just defended itself in oral arguments before the Supreme Court over a patent infringement claim brought by Apple, Inc. While a different lawsuit in scope and impact on the company, this pending class action lawsuit could have far reaching implications beyond the injured parties listed in the complaint.
Looking ahead, the smartphone market is growing increasingly competitive between Apple, Samsung, and now Google and physical injuries and public distrust in a product can cripple Samsung in the long term. Smartphones are almost necessary in today’s business world and if consumers do not trust their device, then they will not hesitate to find a similar, potentially cheaper smartphone made by a Samsung competitor. The exploding battery concern will test the resolve of Samsung’s most loyal followers. However, if the current class action lawsuit is any indication, it is fair to conclude that consumers are not content with the steps Samsung has taken thus far to rectify the situation. Society has enough to worry about between the Donald and Hillary, issues of race and equality, the number of likes on Instagram posts, and does not need to be concerned about their phone literally exploding while charging.
Dept. of Transportation Press Officer, DOT Bans All Samsung Galaxy Note7 Phones from Airplanes, (October 14, 2016), https://www.transportation.gov/briefing-room/dot-bans-all-samsung-galaxy-note7-phones-airplanes.
 JerryRigEverything, Note 7 Battery Explosion!! Caught Live on Camera, YouTube, (September 4, 2016), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Cd2WIxKRDk&feature=youtu.be.
 Waudby et al., v. Samsung Elect. America, Inc., Wall Street Journal, (October 16, 2016), https://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/2016_1017_samsung_lawsuit.pdf.
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Maegen Sincleair, Apple and Samsung Battle it Out Over Screen Display and User Interface, (October 20, 2016), https://amunlawreview.wpengine.com/aublr/2016/10/apple-samsung-battle-screen-display-user-interface/.