Popular Hoverboard Brand Targeted in Class-Action Suit

The lawsuit is the latest allegation that the popular devices can self-combust

The maker of a hoverboard pegged as one of the season's most popular holiday gifts is the target of a class-action lawsuit.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, claims Swagway LLC and Modell’s Sporting Goods, Inc. failed to warn customers of the risk that hoverboards could “burst into flames.”

Michael Brown, of Chappaqua, New York, filed the suit on behalf of all consumers who purchased a Swagway Hoverboard nationwide from Modell’s, saying he purchased the hoverboard as a Hanukkah gift for his children but the device ultimately caught fire while charging, causing a blaze that damaged his home.

The lawsuit, which comes a little more than a week before Christmas, is the latest allegation that the devices can self-combust.

More than a dozen hoverboard fires have been reported around the country, mostly due to poor-quality chargers and batteries, prompting a federal investigation. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, fires have been reported in 10 states so far this year, and the commission most recently opened a case into a hoverboard fire reported in the San Francisco area this week.

According to the lawsuit, Swagway hoverboards are sold on Modell’s website and are also available at Swagway.com, Amazon.com, Target.com, Walmart.com, newegg.com and pedirect.com.

Amazon revealed earlier this week that is has pulled multiple scooter brands from its site, including the popular Swagway brand.

Indiana-based Swagway said in a statement to NBC News at the time that “safety is on the forefront for Swagway” and the removal “is not specific to Swagway, but includes 97 percent of the other branded hoverboards that were also selling on their site.”

Brown said the roughly $400 gift was removed from its box on Dec. 6, the first night of Hanukkah. The hoverboard was used for about 30 minutes before the device began to run out of battery and the family plugged it into an outlet to charge.

About 45 minutes later, the hoverboard burst into flames, igniting packaging materials nearby and causing a fire that damaged Brown’s home, the lawsuit claims.

The lawsuit seeks a trial by jury along with compensatory and punitive damages.

Swagway and Modell’s could not immediately be reached for comment on the suit.

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