OneWheel Lawsuits Against Future Motion Claim That Skateboards Nosedived, Stopped Suddenly
Future Motion faces a growing number of OneWheel lawsuits now being pursued by former users of the popular electric skateboards, each raising similar allegations that severe injuries were suffered when the one-wheeled scooter nosedived and stopped suddenly, causing riders to suffer severe and sometimes catastrophic injuries.
Given common questions of fact and law raised in complaints now pending throughout the federal court system, the manufacturer has filed a motion with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML), seeking to consolidate and centralize all claims before one U.S. District Judge for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings.
The litigation emerged after the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a warning about the OneWheel accident risk in November 2022, indicating that at least four deaths were linked to the self-balancing electric skateboards between 2019 and 2021, which occurred when the rider was ejected after the product suddenly stopped or shut down. The regulators indicated that a number of other serious injuries have also been linked to the scooters, including traumatic brain injuries, concussions, paralysis, fractured bones and ligament damage.
According to the CPSC, Future Motion refused to issue a Onewheel recall, which led to the agency directly warning consumers to stop using the devices immediately.
The lawsuits filed in the wake of the warning accuse Future Motion of selling a defective product, which led to consumer injuries, and then refusing to remove it from the market when the injury risks and defective nature of the device became apparent.
One such complaint (PDF) was filed late last year in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington by Whitney Young and Mary Kokstis, a married couple from Washington state, indicated that Young was riding their “Onewheel Pint X” in Seattle in July 2022, when she was suddenly thrown from the skateboard, suffering a traumatic brain injury and orthopedic injuries.
In another complaint (PDF) filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida in August 2023, Anh Truong indicates that a Onewheel+ XR stopped suddenly and unexpectedly, nosediving while in motion.
“Videos on defendant, Future Motion’s website depict users riding the Onewheel+ XR in a variety of settings: through standing water, on roadways (with cars in the vicinity), across dirt paths, gravel roads, on the beach, through deep sand, through wooded areas, and on and off the sidewalk,” Truong indicates in the Onewheel lawsuit. “There are miscalculations in the design, firmware and operation of the Onewheel+ XR that cause the board to cease balancing the operator while in use, causing the front of the board to dip and touch the ground and sometimes stop altogether, ejecting the unsuspecting rider forward and off the board.”
Jason Bailey also filed a complaint (PDF) in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee on October 20, 2022, days before the CPSC warning, also indicating that a Onewheel XR electric skateboard purchased by his wife nosedived and threw him onto the pavement, causing a humeral fracture that required surgery the following day.
“One of the OneWheel’s key features (and its most dangerous and unpredictable feature) is that it will provide the rider with ‘pushback,’ or physical resistance, when approaching the device’s limits during use. This pushback feature is allegedly designed as a warning to riders to avoid dangerous situations, like excessive speeds, low battery power or overcharging,” according to the complaint filed by Bailey. “Often, however, instead of pushback, the OneWheel will simply shut off and nosedive abruptly, resulting in the rider being catapulted off the device (known as the ‘Nose-Dive Defect’).”
Future Motion Calls for OneWheel Injury Lawsuit Consolidation
On September 1, Future Motion filed a motion to transfer (PDF) with the U.S. JPML, arguing that all OneWheel lawsuits filed throughout the federal court system should be transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida for coordinated pretrial proceedings.
Future Motion argues that consolidation is necessary to reduce duplicative discovery into common issues, avoid conflicting pretrial rulings from different courts and promote judicial efficiencies.
According to the motion, there are currently at least 31 OneWheel injury lawsuits pending in 15 different federal courts nationwide, with the largest number filed in Florida federal court.
If an MDL is established, each individual claim would be transferred to one U.S. District Judge for pretrial proceedings and a series of bellwether trial designed to help the parties gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout the litigation. However, if settlements for the OneWheel electric skateboard lawsuits are not reached to resolve large numbers of claims, each individual lawsuit may later be returned back to the U.S. District Court where it was originally filed for trial.
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