Hewlett-Packard Agrees to Pay $425,000 to Douse Civil Suit Involving Fiery Battery Packs

Paul Lilly

Hewlett-Packard has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $425,000 to settle allegations that it knowingly failed to report to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) that certain lithium-ion battery packs contained a defect or otherwise created an unreasonable risk or serious injury or death, the CPSC announced this week. The battery packs in question are prone to overheating and pose a fire and burn hazard.

"CPSC staff alleges that by September 2007, HP knew of about 22 incidents associated with the lithium-ion battery packs. At least two of these incidents resulted in injuries to consumers," CPSC claims . "HP also was aware that at least one consumer apparently went to the hospital. HP did not receive any information on the consumer's injuries or treatment, if any. CPSC staff also alleges that between March 2007 and April 2007, HP conducted a study, from which it obtained additional information about the lithium-ion battery packs."

Under federal law, HP was required to report within 24 hours any knowledge that the battery packs were defective. By the time it did, CPSC staff alleges HP was already aware of at least 31 incidents involving the overheating batteries.

Even though HP would later recall said batteries, as part of the settlement agreement, HP denies CPSC staff allegations that the battery packs could create an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death, or that HP violated any reporting requirements. Isn't the legal system fun?

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