In brief: With the recent launch of the Galaxy Note 9, Samsung probably thought it had left the exploding battery nightmare of the Note 7 in the past, but that might not be the case. The company is facing a lawsuit that claims its latest flagship device spontaneously caught fire inside a New York woman's purse earlier this month.
In real estate agent Diane Chung's lawsuit, it's claimed that she was using her new Galaxy Note 9 on September 9 while taking the elevator up to her apartment when it suddenly became "extremely hot," according to the New York Post. She stopped using the phone and placed it in her purse, but soon heard a whistling and screeching sound before noticing "thick smoke."
Chung says she became "extremely panicked" because she was alone in the elevator. She placed her bag on the floor and tried to empty it, burning her fingers when she picked up the phone. Chung started mashing the elevator's buttons and kicked the Note 9 out of the cabin after reaching the lobby. The handset allegedly didn't stop smoking until someone picked it up with a cloth and dropped it in a bucket of water.
Chung says the "traumatic" experience left her unable to contact clients and ruined everything in her bag. She is seeking unspecified damages from Samsung and a restraining order barring the sale of the Galaxy Note 9.
Unexplained fires led to two separate recalls for the Note 7. Eventually, it was discovered that battery defects had been the cause, leading to the introduction of a new, eight-step validation procedure. With its 4,000mAh battery, the Note 9's unit is a lot bigger than the Note 7's 3,500mAh battery.
While this is the first report of a Note 9 fire, other Samsung devices are alleged to have gone up in flames this year. A woman claims a Galaxy Note 4 or Note 8 (they were both in the cupholder) caused her car to ignite in May, while in July, a Florida man said his Galaxy S9 caught fire and burned him.
Update: Samsung has released a statement regarding the incident
Samsung takes customer safety very seriously and we stand behind the quality of the millions of Galaxy devices in use in the United States. We have not received any reports of similar incidents involving a Galaxy Note9 device and we are investigating the matter.