A product liability lawsuit has been filed by a Massachusetts man who says that his defective Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) laptop battery overheated and caused a fire that burned down his house.
The lawsuit was filed by John Norrie of Plymouth in Plymouth Superior Court, and transferred to U.S. District Court last week. Norrie accuses HP of designing a defective HP Pavilion Notebook, and is seeking damages in excess of $225,000 for the destruction of his home in November 2006 and for serious injuries he suffered.
Since 2005, a number of HP battery recalls have been issued for its lithium-ion batteries due to the risk of overheating. As recently as May 2009, HP issued laptop battery recalls for Pavilion Notebooks and other laptops due to the risk of the batteries rupturing and causing at least two fires resulting in property damage.
Norrie’s lawsuit charges HP with negligence and breach of warranty. In addition to the damage to the two-story house, Norrie also separated his shoulder and fell down a flight of stairs while escaping his house as it was consumed by flame. State police who investigated the fire confirmed that the blaze appeared to have been started by the overheated laptop.
HP is not the only company that has been plagued by overheating laptop problems. Last week a recall of about 22,000 Acer Aspire Notebooks was announced by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), also due to the risk of fire. The recall was sparked by three different reports Acer received indicating that the computers had short-circuited and got hot enough to melt due to a defective microphone wire.
Other overheating notebook recalls in recent years include a 2006 Dell battery recall affecting 4 million lithium-ion batteries and Sony battery recalls in 2008 that affected nearly 500,000 VAIO-TZ, Toshiba, Dell and HP notebooks.