December 3, 2012

Computers on Fire: Obscure Technical Expertise Helps in Popular Electronics Case

From the CECON Case Files  (#4505)


Situation:   A class action suit was brought against the manufacturer of laptop computer equipment accused of failing and causing residential fires.

Type of Expert Selected.  Heat-transfer expert.  The expert disassembled and examined failed and new equipment, reviewed the manufacturer's designs and procedures for manufacturing and quality control, and advised the plaintiffs' attorney.

Outcome:  Parties settled through mediation.

Of Note:   This case was initially labeled a premature computer part failure and the initial request was for an electrical engineer with consumer class action experience. Conversations with the CECON Project Manager led to the selection of an electrical engineer specializing in heat transfer.   The expertise needed to win a case is not always apparent on first inspection;  our technically trained Project Managers can add insight in selecting the right expert for a case.

Technology Background:  A few years ago, several manufacturers recalled laptops or their batteries after overheating was implicated in various injuries and fires. Read about the recalls in this PC World Article.

Some common sense safety tips for preventing overheating / fire can be found here. For more information on battery technology, see our previous blog posts; or view our battery experts here.


The CECON Group has been providing expert witnesses to attorneys since 1985. Our business model is unique in that our Project Managers are experienced chemists and engineers who can use their expertise in helping identify the right expert for a case


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