A supplier of lithium batteries is pursuing legal action against a manufacturer of motorized window blinds, claiming the blind manufacturer wrongly blamed fire hazards in its defectively designed blinds on the lithium batteries.
Power Cell LLC, doing business as Zeus Battery Products, sued Springs Window Fashions (SWF) in Cook County, Illinois, Circuit Court, alleging SWF based its February recall of automated blinds on Zeus’ lithium batteries, saying the batteries posed a “fire and burn hazard.”
According to Courthouse News Service, SWF received a number of complaints that the batteries and their cases were overheating, melting, bursting into flames, and exploding. The complaints prompted SWF to broadcast a safety alert to retailers claiming the Zeus batteries were causing the fires.
“SWF has issued a series of public statements, under the smoke screen of its alleged concern for public safety, that are false or materially misleading concerning the safety of lithium batteries supplied by Zeus in SWF’s motorized window covering product,” the lawsuit states.
Zeus, claiming its lithium batteries are flawless, is asking the court to rule that the SWF’s product defect is in its poor design. The battery supplier said that in its own testing and analyses, it found the blinds were operable even when the batteries were installed in the wrong direction.
“This is a serious defect in the SWF product. Products should be designed so that they do not operate if batteries are installed the wrong way,” Zeus’ complaint asserts. “Such improper, reverse-polarity installation is known, industry-wide, to cause overheating in otherwise conforming batteries and battery manufacturers and suppliers (including Zeus) warn against the risk.”
The complaint also alleges that the defectively designed blinds allow consumers to mix alkaline and lithium batteries together, which exacerbates the risk of fire even more.
Zeus claims SWF violated both the Illinois Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. The company seeks a retraction of SWF’s accusations, $491,000 in unpaid invoices, and punitive damages.