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Man rides on electric onewheel skateboard on sidewalk at beach

On December 11, 2023, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) ordered that all federally filed Onewheel injury-related lawsuits be consolidated into the Northern District of California. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman was appointed to oversee the proceedings.

The judge met with lawyers involved in the cases on January 18, 2024, for an initial case management conference.

Manufacturer Future Motion Inc. announced a recall of about 300,000 Onewheel Self-Balancing Electric Skateboards last September 2023, due to possible injury hazards.

Judge Sets Expectations for First Onewheel Case Management Conference

In a December 15, 2023, pretrial order, Judge Freeman set the date for the initial case management conference on January 18 at 1:30 p.m. at the Robert F. Peckham Federal Building & United States Courthouse in San Jose, CA. Legal representatives were to meet to develop an agenda for that conference prior to that date. Then they were to provide the court with the following:

  • Their recommendations as to whether the appointment of liaison and lead counsel for the plaintiffs is advisable.
  • A list of the individual personal injury and wrongful death cases that might be suitable as representative cases.
  • A proposal for the efficient presentation of early motions.
  • The schedule for discovery and a proposal for the efficient conduct of discovery.
  • The status of all the lawsuits pending in this MDL, and any potential tag-along lawsuits.
  • A brief written statement indicating their preliminary understanding of the facts involved in the litigation.

In the order, the judge also reminded all parties of their duty to preserve relevant evidence, including electronically stored information.

Plaintiffs Claim Onewheel Skateboard Unreasonably Dangerous

When the JPML ordered all Onewheel cases to be consolidated in California, there were at least 31 lawsuits filed in 14 different federal districts. It is expected that the number of cases will increase in the coming weeks and months.

Most cases involve plaintiffs who claim they were injured while using the Onewheel skateboard. A Fenton, Missouri resident, for example, filed a case on January 2, 2024. According to his complaint, he purchased a Onewheel+ through the company’s website on December 18, 2018, for $1,299.00.

After reviewing the user’s manual, he immediately began using the skateboard, typically in his driveway and on local paved roads around his neighborhood.

On January 6, 2019, he was riding it with a fully charged battery on a relatively flat paved road around his neighborhood, going about 15 miles per hour. Suddenly, without warning, the Onewheel nosedived (without any “pushback”) and abruptly stopped, throwing the plaintiff off the skateboard and onto the pavement. He rolled into a ditch, suffering a lateral tibial plateau fracture, injuries to his left knee and ankle, and other bodily injuries that required immediate medical attention.

As a result of his injuries, the plaintiff missed about three months of work. He continues to suffer limitations in his physical activity and mobility. He claims that the manufacturer knew or should have known about the dangers associated with the product, yet failed to fix these problems or warn consumers about them.

CPSC Warned About Onewheel Dangers Over a Year Ago

Back in November 2022, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warned consumers to stop using the Onewheel skateboards due to an ejection hazard. The commission evaluated the products and found that they could cause the rider to be ejected from the product, which could cause serious injury.

At the time, there had been at least four reported deaths and multiple reports of serious injuries after the product failed to balance the rider or suddenly stopped while in motion. Yet Future Motion refused to agree to a recall of the product. It wasn’t until over a year later that they recalled the devices.

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