Onewheel GT Lawsuit Filed After Rider “Violently Ejected” from Electric Skateboard
According to allegations raised in a recently filed product liability lawsuit, Future Motion, Inc. knew or should have known that its OneWheel electric skateboards have a tendency to malfunction and stop suddenly, which led to a nationwide recall more than a year after a New York man was violently thrown from one of the devices.
The complaint (PDF) was filed by John Wilson in New York state court for Nassau County on December 7, indicating that the manufacturer of the OneWheel GT designed and sold an “inherently” dangerous product, which had been linked to dozens of reports of problems where it came to a sudden, abrupt stops without warning.
Onewheels are electric skateboards that can accelerate to speeds of about 20 miles per hour, while the rider balances on the supposedly self-righting board.
The skateboards are marketed with a feature known as “pushback”, which is supposed to give the rider physical resistance when the scooter is reaching its operational limit. However, some reports indicate that instead of riders just experiencing a little resistance, which could already upset their balance, often the Onewheel stops suddenly, causing the nose to pitch down into ground.
Wilson’s case raises allegations similar to those presented in dozens of OneWheel lawsuits now being pursued in courts nationwide, each involving allegations that riders suffered devastating injuries when the “pushback” feature failed, causing the skateboard to nose-dive and stop suddenly.
On September 29, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a Onewheel recall, impacting 300,000 devices sold nationwide. At that time, the manufacturer indicated that users need to install a firmware update on their board to correct the problems. However, Wilson indicates that Future Motion knew or should have known about the risk much earlier, but continued to sell the defective skateboards without warning consumers.
Wilson indicates he was riding his Onewheel GT in a road in Seacliff, New York, in October 2022, when he experienced what is known as a Onewheel “nosedive”.
“(T)he Oneweel GT suddenly sand without warning malfunctioned, causing it to come to an unexpected and abrupt stop,” the lawsuit notes, “which in turn caused the Plaintiff, John Wilson, to be violently ejected from the Onewheel GT and onto the roadway, resulting in serious and permanent personal injuries.”
Wilson’s complaint states that, by the time of his accident, Future Motion, Inc. had received numerous reports of similar incidents, but still failed to warn consumers about the potential risks or fix the design problems.
According to the CPSC, Future Motion had received dozens of incident reports involving OneWheel accidents by the time the recall was issued, including at least four deaths between 2019 and 2021. The injuries included traumatic brain injuries, concussions, paralysis, bone fractures and ligament damage.
Wilson indicates he also suffered great bodily injuries, some of which are permanent.
Onewheel Personal Injury Lawsuits Consolidated in Federal MDL
Given similar questions of fact and law raised in Onewheel GT lawsuits now being pursued throughout the federal court system, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) decided earlier this month to consolidate the litigation before one federal judge for coordinated pretrial proceedings.
Complaints filed in U.S. District Courts nationwide will all be managed by Judge Beth Labson Freeman in the Northern District of California for discovery and a series of early bellwether trials, which will be used to gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout the litigation.
The state court lawsuit filed by Wilson will not be included in the OneWheel MDL, but the judge assigned to preside over the claim may coordinate pretrial discovery with the claims pending before Judge Freeman.
Following coordinated discovery and bellwether trials in the MDL, if Future Motion fails to negotiate OneWheel settlements for individuals injured by the design defect, dozens of individual cases may be remanded back to U.S. District Courts nationwide for separate trial dates in the coming years.
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JustinDecember 21, 2023 at 1:10 pm
This is nonsense! For 99% of nosedives are rider failure. There are specific warnings about the X amount of energy the board has to balance you and to go fast. The warning specifies that if you exceed this variable you will nosedive. Before this variable is reached there is a safety beep and pushback, which should never be ignored. When you first install the accompanied app the user is forced to r[Show More]This is nonsense! For 99% of nosedives are rider failure. There are specific warnings about the X amount of energy the board has to balance you and to go fast. The warning specifies that if you exceed this variable you will nosedive. Before this variable is reached there is a safety beep and pushback, which should never be ignored. When you first install the accompanied app the user is forced to read about this and there is an accompanied video demonstration. The one percent of nosedives that are mechanical failure happens at very low speed, and are very unlikely to cause injury. If someone rides anything with out respect or care to the devices limits injury is likely. The new haptic buzz "safety feature" is actually less safe to the conscientious rider, because the buzz uses energy that would otherwise be used for power to keep you balanced and moving fast. To ride anything too fast is a bad idea, but in brief instances it is good to have the power when one needs it. The Onewheel is a wonderful product and is much safer than a bicycle or any other car alternative.
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