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May 19, 2009

HP Laptop Batteries Pose Danger of Serious Burn Injuries

Hewlett-Packard Co. (better known as HP) has announced that approximately 70,000 computer batteries found in various models of HP and Compaq laptop computers pose a risk of serious burn injuries and property damage.  The company, in conjunction with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), announced a recall of the lithium-ion battery packs because the batteries can overheat and explode causing damage to property and burn injuries. 

Although no injuries have been reported thus far, HP acknowledges two reports of their batteries overheating and rupturing resulting in fire damage.  The Chinese-manufactured battery packs were included with various HP and Compaq laptop models and sold separately from August 2007 through March 2008.  According to the CPSC, HP and Compaq laptop users should immediately remove the battery packs from their laptops and contact HP to determine if their batteries are included in the potential hazard recall.

This defective laptop battery recall is the latest in a long line of recalls due to defective battery packs with the potential to cause fire damage and burn injuries.  In 2008, approximately 100,000 laptop battery packs manufactured by Sony Energy Devices Corp. and included with HP, Toshiba and Dell computers worldwide were recalled because of their potential fire hazard.  In 2006, some 526,000 defective laptop batteries found in Lenovo and IBM ThinkPad notebook computers worldwide were recalled because of their potential to overheat and cause burn injuries and other fire hazards.

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February 17, 2009

Fort Lauderdale Electrical Accident Causes Pembroke Pines Man's Death

Broward County:  Junior Seaton of Pembroke Pines, FL died Monday in Fort Lauderdale after coming into contact with a power line he was helping repair.  Seaton, a Florida Power and Light (FPL) employee, had allegedly completed his work on the power lines at the 600 block of East Broward Blvd. when he returned to the lines and was electrocuted.  Seaton was taken to Broward General Medical Center but died shortly after arrival according to reports. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 212 workers died nationwide from electrocution in 2007.  Of those deaths, 21 were from Florida.  However, not all deaths from electrocution happen in the workplace.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that there were 400 deaths from electrocution in the United States in 2000.  Of those electrical deaths, the CPSC estimates that 150 deaths were caused by consumer products.  Although the percentage of electrocution deaths attibutable to consumer products declined between the years 1990 and 2000, it is important to be vigilant in adhering to proper usage and warning labels on all electrical devices.

Although the Seaton work-related accident will presumably be handled legally as a worker's compensation claim, compensation for other electrical injuries or deaths caused by the negligence of another can be persued through personal injury claims or wrongful death actions.  Some examples of these types of claims include defective products that cause electrocution despite proper use, negligently maintained electrical equipment, downed power lines, and unguarded electrical installations.  The legal issues surrounding an electrical accident that results in injury or death can be complex, and the injured party or his/her family should contact an attorney for answer to any questions that may arise.

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