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CPSC Issues Safety Warning for LayZBoard Hoverboards

It is no secret that hoverboards – two-wheeled, battery-powered, self-balancing scooters – have proved enormously popular with kids and teenagers. But allegations regarding defective battery packs have triggered recalls. The latest hoverboard incident was associated with a fatal fire in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania last March.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) started an investigation into the Harrisburg incident after fire officials blamed the accident on a charging hoverboard. Now, the CPSC has asked consumers to immediately stop using the brand of hoverboard used, LayZ Board. The CPSC made clear that the warning does not apply to Lazyboard scooters, which are a separate brand made by a different manufacturer.

Some 3,000 LayZ Board hoverboards have been imported into the U.S. Among the incidents the CPSC investigated were reports of burns and property damage across 20 states, allegedly causing in excess of $2 million in property damage. In September 2016, the CPSC recalled 501,000 hoverboards from eight manufacturers after documenting 99 incidents stemming from the scooters’ lithium-ion battery packs overheating and, in some instances, catching fire or exploding. Since then, the CPSC added another 500 scooters from a ninth manufacturer to the recall.

Lithium ion batteries offer manufacturers the ability to design and produce devices that can run for long period of time without recharging. But, after a series of high-profile accidents, the dangers posed by cheaper makes of the batteries have been widely publicized. In June 2016, CPSC’s then-Chair Elliot Kaye stated: “Unless the manufacturer can show that the device has been certified as safe by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), it should be considered “a fire hazard waiting to happen.” He urged consumers to return any non-certified hoverboard back to the manufacturers for a refund.

The first hoverboard certification was granted by UL in May 2016, meaning that earlier models would have been manufactured before the UL hoverboard standards were in place. That does not automatically mean that earlier models are unsafe if the manufacturer used a high degree of due diligence when choosing batteries for use in their products, but it is likely that they will have to demonstrate that level diligence if investigated. It is unlikely that retailers will now accept new models of hoverboards that are not certified.

It is worth noting that while the CPSC’s has issued a warning notice about LayZ Board rather than a recall, the Commission can still initiate a recall down the road.

© 2019 Keller and Heckman LLP

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About this Author

Sheila Millar, Keller Heckman, advertising lawyer, privacy attorney
Partner

Sheila A. Millar counsels corporate and association clients on advertising, privacy, product safety, and other public policy and regulatory compliance issues.

Ms. Millar advises clients on an array of advertising and marketing issues.  She represents clients in legislative, rulemaking and self-regulatory actions, advises on claims, and assists in developing and evaluating substantiation for claims. She also has extensive experience in privacy, data security and cybersecurity matters.  She helps clients develop website and app privacy policies,...

202-434-4646
Jean-Cyril Walker, Keller Heckman, Environmental Compliance Lawyer, Renewable Fuel Standards Attorney
Partner

Jean-Cyril Walker joined Keller and Heckman in 2000. He advises clients on a wide range of environmental matters, including compliance with U.S. requirements governing the safe management and disposal of chemical and hazardous substances. Mr. Walker counsels fuel industry clients on federal and state requirements governing the development and distribution of fuels and fuel additives, including the renewable fuel standards (RFS and RFS2), and matters involving renewable fuel identification number (RIN) transactions. Mr. Walker regularly advises industry and trade association clients on matters concerning the regulation of hazardous air pollutants under the federal Clean Air Act (CAA) and state and local air pollution statutes. In this regard, Mr. Walker has advised clients on compliance with numerous MACT standards, including those governing pharmaceutical production, chemical manufacturing, can and other surface coatings, and other industrial operations. Mr. Walker has extensive experience with CARB regulations, and in particular, on complying with regulations governing emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in adhesives, paints, and other industrial and consumer products. 

202-434-4181