Plymouth resident John Norrie is suing Hewlett-Packard Co. for Massachusetts products liability. Norrie’s house burned down in November 2006 when his HP Pavilion Notebook computer overheated and caught fire. Norrie was asleep at the time, but he managed to escape. He says that he sustained serious injuries.
According to Norrie’s Plymouth injury complaint, he fell down a flight of stairs and separated his shoulder as he fled his home. Now, he is seeking over $250,000 in Massachusetts personal injury compensation for his injuries and the damage to his home. Norrie is accusing Hewlett-Packard of breach of warranty and negligence in regards to the manufacture, sale, instruction, and distribution of a product that was defective.
Lithium-Ion Batteries and Laptops
The fact that lithium-ion batteries pose an injury hazard is not news. Over the past five years, HP has announced four recalls of its lithium-ion batteries because they were considered fire hazards. Last May, HP recalled the batteries for nine Pavilion Notebook models because there was a chance the batteries might rupture, posing a fire hazard. 70,000 lithium-ion batteries were part of this recall, which included batteries for HPs, Compaq Presarios, and one HP Compaq model. Over the last several years, other computer manufacturers, including Apple Inc., Compaq, and Dell, have also recalled their lithium-ion batteries.
While a battery that gets a little hot may not sound too dangerous, it can lead to serious injuries and even death if the overheated battery causes a laptop to burst into flames. Last August, a 56-year-old Canadian man died when his HP laptop caught fire after it was left on a sofa. Yet despite the dangers, manufacturers continue to sell laptops that pose a fire hazard. Just this month, The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced the recall of approximately 22,000 Acer Aspire notebooks because they might short circuit and overheat.
Plymouth man sues Hewlett-Packard over laptop fire, The Boston Globe, January 8, 2010
Laptop fire blamed for Vancouver death, CBC News, August 26, 2009
HP Recalls Notebook Computer Batteries Due to Fire Hazard, CPSC, May 14, 2009
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