Dell, Samsung concede wrongful death

By Angela Underwood | Feb 23, 2018

A wrongful death settlement has been reached regarding a fatality caused by a computer charger.

A wrongful death settlement has been reached regarding a fatality caused by a computer charger.

In a Feb. 2 joint case management statement, plaintiff State Farm General Insurance Company and defendants Dell Inc. and Samsung SDI Co. Ltd. agreed to finalize a wrongful death complaint caused by a house fire ignited by a faulty laptop battery.

The original complaint was filed over a 2014 fire in the State Farm-insured Hayward, California, residence of Juan Gonzalez. According to the plaintiffs, the fire was the consequence of  a “catastrophic failure of a laptop manufactured, designed, distributed, and sold by defendants,” that wrongfully killed Gonzalez and caused the plaintiffs emotional distress.

“Defendants knew or should have known that failure to properly design, manufacture, test, and/or inspect the laptop and battery would increase the risk of fire and related damage to the Mr. Gonzalez and his property should the laptop and battery fail during their intended,” according to the original complaint filed in 2016.

More specifically, the plaintiffs say the defendants knew or had reason to know that Gonzalez trusted Dell and Samsung, not fearing for his life through the use of the computer he purchased from the manufacturers.

“The defendants knew or had reason to know that the purchaser and user of the laptop and battery would rely on the skill and judgment of defendants in their design, manufacture, assembly, testing, sale, and distribution of laptop computers and laptop computer batteries ... [which] would be used by consumers without inspection for defects,” according to the original complaint.

Aside from selling a dangerous product, Dell and Samsung also failed to warn Gonzalez of any possible harm.

Neither Dell nor Samsung refuted their wrongdoing during compliant discussions and no trial was authorized since the case was “not appropriate for the expedited trial procedure of General Order No. 64 due to the complex nature of the product liability claims alleged,” according to the joint case management statement.

“The parties went forward with private mediation of these consolidated matters on Dec. 21, 2017, with mediator Arnold Levinson,” according to the joint case statement. “An agreement to settle State Farm’s claims was reached at mediation. An agreement to settle the Gonzalez plaintiffs’ claims was reached in January 2018.”

The order was officially dismissed by Judge Sallie Kim on Feb. 5 without prejudice.

“If no certification is filed, after passage of 90 days, the dismissal shall be with prejudice,” Kim wrote in the dismissal.

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Organizations in this Story

Dell, Inc. Samsung

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