Mandatory Arbitration Agreements Don’t Always Preclude Defective Product Lawsuits

On Behalf of | Aug 29, 2018 | Personal Injury

You probably heard about the problems cellular phone maker Samsung experienced several years ago. The company’s Galaxy S7 Edge phone had an alleged manufacturing defect, causing it to spontaneously combust. The phones have since been recalled from the market.

Nonetheless, the legal battles following the fallout are ongoing. In today’s post, we examine one example of how a customer successfully pursued a product liability lawsuit against Samsung, even though the company had a mandatory arbitration provision.

Ramirez v. Samsung

Plaintiff Daniel Ramirez is a former owner of a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. One day, while in a bookstore in Ohio, his phone — which Ramirez carried in his front pocket — suddenly exploded. His entire right leg caught on fire, and he suffered second- and third-degree burns on his leg and groin. Ramirez sued.

Samsung tried to compel arbitration, pointing to fine print embedded in the phone’s product safety manual, which states that customers must resolve any disputes with Samsung through arbitration. According to Samsung, when Ramirez purchased the phone, he effectively accepted these legal conditions.

The federal judge rejected the legitimacy of Samsung’s defense, finding it unreasonable for any customer to expect to find legal conditions hidden within a 23-page booklet that was labeled as a product safety and instruction manual. Further, the judge found it equally unreasonable to expect that, if a customer found the arbitration provision, they would know they could opt out of it. As a result, Ramirez’s lawsuit against Samsung was allowed to proceed.

This case exemplifies how you may be able to sue over your injuries from a defective product–even if the manufacturer tries to require arbitration. If you’ve suffered an injury from a defective product, it’s important to get a personal injury attorney specializing in product liability to advocate on your behalf.

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