Florida man sues Samsung after Note7 explodes in his pocket

Posted at 4:31 AM, Sep 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-19 05:09:52-04

A Florida man has filed what is believed to be the first lawsuit to result from a battery defect affecting Samsung Note7 smartphones.

Jonathan Strobel, a resident of Palm Beach County, Florida, alleges in the suit that the phone was in his right pocket on September 9 when it exploded, causing "severe burns" to his leg, leaving him "in shock and extreme pain due to his injuries."

A Samsung spokesperson told ABC News that the company is aware of the incident, but that it doesn't "comment on pending litigation."

Among other allegations, the suit alleges that the Note7 smartphone "was not reasonably fit, suitable, or safe to the ultimate operators or consumers for its intended or reasonably foreseeable purposes when manufactured," and that Samsung, "knew or in the exercise of due care should have known that the Galaxy Note7 cell phone...would create a foreseeable risk of harm to users."

The suit seeks damages in excess of $15,000.

On Thursday, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced a government-sanctioned recall of the Note7, after multiple reports that the battery defect had caused several of the smartphones to explode and in some cases spark fires.

"Samsung has received 92 reports of the batteries overheating in the U.S., including 26 reports of burns and 55 reports of property damage, including fires in cars and a garage," according to the CPSC.

Nearly a million Note7 smartphones were sold in the United States, according to the CPSC. The recall applies only to those Samsung Galaxy Note7 devices sold before Sept. 15, 2016.

The agency estimates that 97 percent of those contained the defective battery.

Consumers are being told to immediately discontinue using the devices and return them to their place of purchase. They will receive their choice of a refund, a new Galaxy Note7 with a different battery or another replacement device of a different model.

The company has said it expects replacement Note7 smartphones with defect-free batteries to be available to be available to consumers no later than Wednesday.

The company is directing owners of affected Note7 smartphones to visit this webpage to learn more about their options.

"With battery cell defects in some of our Note7 phones, we did not meet the standard of excellence that you expect and deserve," Samsung Electronics America President and COO Tim Baxter said in a video statement after the government-sanctioned recall was announced. "We apologize, especially to those of you who were personally affected by this."

The Samsung boss said that approximately 130,000 Note7s had already been exchanged in the U.S.

The official recall followed almost two weeks of confusion for consumers, that began when Samsung attempted to establish its own informal recall on September 2nd that the company dubbed a "product exchange program," wherein the company promised to replace consumer's defective devices the following week.

A week after that the company acknowledged that it was seeking an official government-sanctioned recall through the CPSC. It was finally announced almost a week later on Thursday.

ABC News' Daniel Steinberger contributed to this report from Washington.