A New Mexico man whose Chinese-made ZTE smartphone caught fire as it was charging overnight has filed a lawsuit against a U.S. subsidiary of the manufacturer, alleging the phone’s defective design burned his home and all his possessions and left him with crippling burn injuries.
According to the Albuquerque Journal, plaintiff Jose Perez filed the lawsuit in the Judicial District Court in Santa Fe last week. He seeks compensatory and punitive damages for economic losses, future medical expenses, and future pain and suffering, among damages.
Mr. Perez says he was charging his ZTE Zmax Pro Blu phone overnight next to his bed last November when he awoke in the middle of the night with his bed “engulfed in fire.”
“Jose’s life would be forever changed,” the complaint says, according to the Albuquerque Journal. “He remained hospitalized or in (a) skilled nursing unit from the night of the fire until just recently. He sustained third-degree burns so significant he is unable to walk for any period of extended time without assistance.”
Mr. Perez alleges the ZTE phone is prone to overheating and catching fire because it is defectively designed.
He blames the U.S. subsidiary of Chinese telecom giant ZTE Corp., ZTE USA Inc., for the devastating fire, along with Metro PCS Texas LLC and Ultimate Wireless CSR LLC, a provider based in Santa Fe and Albuquerque. The complaint says the defendant companies are liable for making, distributing, and selling a dangerously defective phone.
“Outside of dying, I can’t imagine a worse situation for a human being to encounter,” Mr. Perez’s attorney told the Albuquerque Journal.