Samsung asks New Jersey court to sink class action suit about Galaxy S7 waterproofing woes

Make it swim with the fishes


The US branch of Samsung’s mobile division has asked a New Jersey court to dismiss a proposed class action suit which alleges the business misled customers about the waterproofing on its Samsung Galaxy S7 lines.

Arguing on technical lines, Samsung claimed [PDF] the plaintiff had failed to cross the threshold needed for a class action, which would include either 100 members or damages worth over $5m (roughly £3.75m).

This, Samsung’s counsel claimed, moved it beyond the jurisdiction of the New Jersey federal court.

The New Jersey suit, led by local resident Jill Clark, was spun off from a putative class action filed in the Central District of California, Eastern Division by a California woman, Dulce Alondra Velasquez-Reyes in 2016. Reyes had taken umbrage with Samsung’s marketing for the Galaxy S7, which showed the handset withstanding being plunged into the ocean and doused with champagne by rapper Lil’ Wayne, after her phone was permanently damaged following an accidental tumble into her toilet.

In the original complaint, in addition to monetary damages, Reyes sought injunctive relief that would prevent Samsung from continuing to market the Galaxy S7 as waterproof. Four years later, in May this year, a second amended complaint was filed in the California action, which added Clark as a new named plaintiff. According to court documents, Velasquez-Reyes’s claims were dismissed from the suit in July this year and the California action was suspended.

Samsung has now asked the court to dismiss Clark's proposed New Jersey class suit, which asserts claims under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act as well as common law fraud and unjust enrichment.

The New-Jersey based plaintiff alleged she purchased a new Galaxy S7 phone from a Best Buy in New Jersey in December, 2017, after supposedly reviewing "unspecified" advertisements saying the phone was water resistant.

Clark complained that, after she purchased her S7, the device was "briefly exposed to water and began acting strange."

The Samsung Galaxy S7 launched with an IP68 rating, which indicates a good level of protection against dust and water. The "8" in that rating refers to the level of water resistance, with the Samsung Galaxy S7 purportedly able to withstand being submerged in up to 5 foot (1.5 metres) of water for up to 30 minutes.

In its motion to dismiss, Samsung claimed: "Clark does not allege how much she paid for her S7 or how much she can show in damages, nor does she plead any facts regarding the number of putative members of the New Jersey Class or the quantum of damages those putative class members are alleged to have suffered. In sum, she has entirely failed to allege facts supporting her legal contention that [Class Action Fairness Act] applies."

The Register has contacted Samsung for comment. ®


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