A Santa Rosa Beach, Fla., man has filed a lawsuit against an e-cigarette manufacturer, distributor, and retailer after the device exploded in his mouth at work, leaving him with severe burns and facial injuries.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, James Lauria was taking a break from his job as a concierge at the Beach House in Destin on July 29, 2015, when the e-cigarette he had purchased at a local shop in June exploded.
The blast and subsequent fire punctured the roof of Mr. Lauria’s mouth, leaving with a “gaping hole all the way through to his nasal cavity,” fracturing his teeth and pushing them through his gums, fracturing his hand and C-5 vertebrae in his neck, burning the left side of his face and chest, and scratching his eye.
Mr. Lauria filled his lawsuit on Nov. 4 in Okaloosa County Court. Named as defendants are Vapor Master, the Destin shop where he purchased the e-cigarette, and Nitecore Store and Uvaper LLC, which act as U.S.-based suppliers and distributors for e-cigarette components manufactured by Chinese companies.
The law firm representing Mr. Lauria filed a similar lawsuit for a Deland, Fla., man who was severely burned Dec. 28, 2015, when his e-cigarette exploded in the front pocket of his pants while at work.
According to that lawsuit, filed in Volusia County Court, plaintiff James Dardini suffered extensive second- and third-degree burn injuries to his groin, legs, and lower back. Mr. Dardini required skin graft surgery, but his lawsuit states that the injuries are “permanent and life-altering.”
Mr. Dardini is suing Sunshine Vapor, the store where he bought the e-cigarette, as well as manufacturer Kangertech and distributer Perfect Vape.
“The scary part about the e-cigarettes is that most of the devices and their components are cheaply made,” the lawyer representing both plaintiffs told the Orlando Sentinel. “Most of the batteries are simply re-wrapped lithium ion batteries. On top of cheap batteries many of the devices lack proper ventilation turning the device into a pipe bomb where heat discharged from the battery builds up in the e-cigarette until the pressure is so great that it explodes.”