A New Jersey man and his wife have filed a personal injury lawsuit against the vendor that sold the husband an e-cigarette that he alleges exploded in the pocket of his pants, causing him severe injuries.
According to NJ.com, William Barrese and his wife Kathleen Barrese filed the lawsuit against Gorilla Vapes, an e-cigarette retail chain with six locations in New Jersey, in Middlesex County Courthouse in March.
Mr. Barrese claims in the lawsuit that he was at work the day after Christmas last year when the battery in his e-cigarette suddenly exploded in the front left pocket of his pants, resulting in “extensive burns on his lower extremity,” according to the suit.
The blast resulted in Mr. Barrese being hospitalized and visits to a dermatologist, the lawsuit claims.
According to NJ.com Mr. and Mrs. Barrese allege that Gorilla Vapes, where Mr. Barrese purchased the malfunctioning device, knew it was defective and dangerous but sold it to him anyway. Their lawsuit seeks compensation for damages, medical costs, and legal expenses.
E-cigarette explosions were rarely heard of just a couple years ago, but reports of the devices malfunctioning and causing serious personal injury have soared alongside sales of the devices, which have risen dramatically since 2011 in the U.S. and several other countries.
It’s hard to quantify injuries caused by e-cigarettes and their rechargeable lithium-ion batteries as there is no central tracking system in place, but some hospitals have started keeping track. For instance, doctors at the University of Colorado hospital treated 16 e-cigarette burn-injury patients in 2016. State-wide there were 34 documented cases of e-cigarette-related burns and other injuries, including facial lacerations, eye injuries, and damage to lips, teeth, gums, and tongue.
ABC affiliate Denver 7 compiled a database of e-cigarette explosions using federal reports, lawsuits, and various online resources, and found 253 cases of the devices exploding and causing injury, most of which happened in the last two years. Many analysts say the actual numbers are likely higher, since not all e-cigarette injuries are documented.