It is all over the news that cheap, imported hover boards are dramatically catching fire. These hover boards have been purchased from Chinese manufacturers and resold in the U.S.A. Investigations point to defective Chinese batteries as the cause of these fires and recommend they not be charged overnight.
UK Amazon is refunding the price of the hover boards for its customers. Because of the risk of fire, airlines refuse to check them. USPS will only ship them by ground.
What if you bought one of these hover boards from Amazon or Walmart, and your child was badly burned? What if he had to undergo expensive and painful burn therapy? Could you recover the cost of the medical care?
In Arizona, it will be more challenging to hold the wrongdoers responsible. Traditionally, when a person was injured by a defective product, they could receive fair compensation from any part of the chain of distribution. That is, they could recover from the retailer, wholesaler, or manufacturer. This was fair because it shifted the responsibility for defective products to the makers and sellers of defective products, who profit from their sale, and away from the innocent consumer.
In State Farm v. Premier Manufacturing, the Arizona Supreme Court changed this traditional rule and ruled each business in the chain of distribution could only be held responsible for their own fault. Specifically, a product manufacture was not responsible for using defective parts manufactured by another company. Because the defective component parts manufacture was out of business, the injured party was not fairly compensated for their loss.
How does that play out in the hover board situation? The manufactures of the hover boards and defective batteries may be difficult to haul into an Arizona court because they are located in China and are hidden away behind multiple shell companies. The entities you could get into an Arizona court, Sagway, Walmart or Amazon or other retailers, because of the change in Arizona law, will attempt to avoid responsibility for selling a defective product by pointing the finger at the dangerous product and battery manufacturers. While not unsurmountable, there are added challenges to holding wrongdoers responsible for the injuries they caused by a defective product, like hover boards, that incorporate foreign components.