Every once in a while, a random phone simply bursts into flame or overheats to the point that it's fried. This isn't always a Samsung Galaxy Note 7, but shortly after the phone's release, the Galaxy Note 7 was the one exploding and making headlines often enough that Samsung was eventually forced into a messy and expensive recall. The investigation is still ongoing for the Galaxy Note 7, but Samsung has admitted at this point that it has something to do with the battery. According to a lawsuit originating from a disgruntled owner of a charred Galaxy S6 Active, however, Samsung's devices find themselves ablaze far too often to call the various fires from the Galaxy S2 until modern phones mere coincidences.
The Galaxy S6 Active belonged to Brandon Covert, who awoke to a loud pop, along with his wife, to find his phone shooting out 5-inch flames and scorching the dresser that it was perched on while charging. Brandon's first reaction was to try to snuff the phone with a shirt, but when all that got him was a stream of acidic black goop, he gathered the device up in his hands and delivered it to the kitchen sink for a bath, melting his skin in the process. He's not the first such case, as the lawsuit points out, and he likely won't be the last, since most devices out there use lithium-ion batteries, which are prone to "thermal runaway" if poorly manufactured or mistreated.
The suit lists consumer reports to the CPSC, which number 37 in total, where they allege that Samsung knew about the issue by the time it reached the CPSC, yet they did not initiate any action outside of interactions with the customer whose phone or tablet burned. The reports go all the way back to 2011. The suit also alleges, since their capacity is the same at 3,500mAh, the battery in the Galaxy Note 7 is the same one that's found in the Galaxy S6 Active. If this is true, the relatively higher percentage of exploding Galaxy Note 7s compared to Galaxy S6 Actives would point to an issue with the phone itself or how energy use was handled, either instead of or alongside the actual battery unit. The kicker here is that several Samsung buyers, even buyers of the recalled Galaxy Note 7, have allegedly not been properly made whole by Samsung following their experiences. For now, the suit's damage amount is not specified.