Family Sues Amazon After Hoverboard Burns Down Their House

Family claims a defective hoverboard bought off Amazon caused the fire
By Daniel Kay,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 28, 2016 4:44 PM CDT
Family Sues Amazon After Hoverboard Burns Down Their House
An electric self-balancing scooter commonly called a "hoverboard."    (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

Amazon is being taken to court after a faulty hoverboard caused a fire that destroyed an expensive Nashville home, USA Today reports. The gadgets, which were a hot item last Christmas, have an unfortunate habit of catching fire and exploding. The Fox family of Nashville, Tenn., found this out the hard way on Jan. 9, when a hoverboard caused their house to burn to the ground. Now, the family is suing Amazon, claiming the retailer knowingly sold them a defective product. According to Tennessee law, when the manufacturer of a product can't be found, the retailer can be held liable for damages. The family says they spent months investigating, but were unable to determine the manufacturer of the device; the seller that was listed online is apparently a sham organization. (Such confusion isn't uncommon, Buzzfeed reports, due to the way hoverboards are manufactured and sold).

In fact, there's a good basis to the claim that Amazon knew the devices were dangerous, as Amazon actually stopped selling them last December, when it became clear that many were catching fire. Less than a month later, in January 2016, the Fox home caught fire. They allege they were sold a counterfeit product, when they believed they were buying a product that would contain a Samsung lithium ion battery. Their lawsuit seeks $30 million in damages, plus asks for penalties to be levied against Amazon. The Fox home was approximately 4,000 square feet and was valued at $1 million. In addition to the monetary loss, Courthouse News Service reports that the suit details the trauma the family suffered: Parents Megan and Brian were out of the house when the fire started, and Brian returned home in a panic to help their two children escape, injured but alive. (More hoverboard stories.)

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