Remember all the hoverboards that were catching fire at the end of last year? Amazon certainly does. Safety concerns resulted in the online retailer banning a large number of the devices back in December, but the move came too late for one Nashville family, who has filed a lawsuit against the company after their $1 million home burned down.
Brian and Megan Fox are seeking $30 million in damages against Amazon and their subsidiaries. The family is also requesting that the jury consider additional financial penalties against the retailer, along with compensation for the physical and emotional distress they suffered.
The couple bought the $274.79 FITURBO F1 hoverboard in November 2015 as a Christmas present for their 14-year-old son. They say it came with “no warnings about risk of fire, no warnings about excessive heat following use, and no warnings about excessive heat or the risk of the fire while charging the product or shortly thereafter.”
On January 9, the couple’s teenage daughter and son were at home when they heard a noise downstairs. After the 16-year-old realized it was a fire, she kicked out a second story window and jumped into her father’s arms, who had arrived after the girl called him asking for help.
“I got there and I was kicking in the doors and I thought, ‘I’m going to lose two of my four children today,’” said Brian Fox.“I was yelling for her, ‘Please jump, baby; Please jump,’ and she jumped out the window without hesitation.”
Fox used a ladder to retrieve his son, but the pair fell off when the boy jumped out of the window. All three suffered various injuries, including lacerations that required stitches, fractured bones, and nerve damage. The family's 4000-square-foot home was destroyed.
The Fox's lawyer, Steven Anderson, said it’s still unclear who manufactured the hoverboard. “We’ve spent months investigating it and to this day I don’t know who manufactured this product, and it doesn’t appear that Amazon does,” he told USA Today.
The lawsuit alleges that the family thought they were buying a hoverboard with a Samsung lithium-ion battery, but instead received a counterfeit item from a fake organization. The listed seller, W-Deals, is registered to a New York apartment, and has not responded to requests from lawyers. Tennessee liability law holds a seller responsible if a manufacturer cannot be found.
The lawsuit also claims the defendants knew about the previous fires caused by hoverboards, and that they had a duty to contact purchasers to warn them of the potential dangers.
The lawsuit was filed in Davidson County Circuit Court. Amazon said it does not comment on pending cases.