A Nashville couple whose home burned down after a hoverboard caught fire has filed a lawsuit against Amazon.
Brian and Megan Fox bought a hoverboard for their children for Christmas last year. It burst into flames on January 9. The fire destroyed “virtually all their personal belonging in a manner of minutes,” and nearly killed their 16-year-old daughter and 14-year-old son, according to the couple’s complaint (PDF).
The offending hoverboard was purchased through an Amazon marketplace store called “W-Deals” and was supposed to contain an “original Samsung advanced battery,” but it allegedly didn’t. The Foxes say W-Deals is a sham entity with a registered address of an apartment building in Brooklyn, New York. Inquiries sent to the address weren’t responded to.
The Tennessean interviewed the couple’s lawyer, who said that Tennessee’s product liability law holds the seller responsible in situations in which the manufacturer can’t be found.
“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,” attorney Steve Anderson told the newspaper. It was Amazon that charged the Foxes, and shipped the product.
The suit seeks $30 million in damages. The value of the home was cited as $1 million when it burned down, and in their complaint the Foxes claim they suffered a $1.9 million loss in the form of their house and other belongings. They’re also seeking compensation for injuries and emotional distress.
While no one was burned, the complaint says that the family’s two children who were in the house had to break windows and escape from the second floor in order to get away from the fire, with their father breaking the fall in one case. Both kids were cut up and required stitches, and Brian Fox fractured two bones in his elbow and sprained a wrist.
Amazon declined to comment on the matter.
Hoverboards, which are really self-balancing scooters, were a hot gift item last year, but they’ve been plagued by complaints since then. In July, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled about 500,000 hoverboards from the US market. Amazon and Target both suspended hoverboard sales in July.