A Houston man whose e-cigarette exploded in his face a year ago, leaving him with serious facial and bodily injuries, has filed a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of the lithium-ion battery that allegedly caused the blast and the vape shop that sold it to him.
According to the SE TexasRecord, plaintiff Dunta White, a resident of Harris County, claims that H Town Vape Inc., the vape shop where he bought the allegedly defective lithium-ion battery, and LG Chem Ltd., the Korean electronics company that made the battery, are liable for the injuries that the exploding e-cigarette caused.
When the e-cigarette exploded in the plaintiff’s face, it caused shrapnel-like blast injuries to his mouth, face, and other parts of his body. According to court documents from the case, “the explosion caused a large piece of the device to be lodged in the plaintiff’s mouth and throat.”
The plaintiff alleges the explosion caused more than $1 million in damages, according to Texas Lawyer.
More than 95 percent of e-cigarettes and other electronic vaping devices are powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, which are prone to overheat and catch fire. Manufacturing defects, using a charger other than the one packaged with the device, damage to the battery, and contact with other metal objects such as coins, paper clips, and other batteries can increase risk.
“Electronic cigarettes have a long history of exploding and causing personal injuries and property damages,” Mr. White’s lawsuit says. “The injuries suffered by the plaintiff are a continuation of a long list of victims of electronic cigarette explosions.”
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, e-cigarettes using lithium-ion batteries “present a new and unique hazard to consumers. No other consumer product places a battery with a known explosion hazard such as this in such close proximity to vital areas of the human body.”
In fact, in a July 2017 report about the risks of e-cigarettes, the U.S. Fire Administration concluded that lithium-ion batteries should not be used in e-cigarettes at all.
“While the number of batteries that explode and catch fire is statistically small, the catastrophic nature of the injuries that can occur warrants the use of another battery technology for e-cigarettes,” the Administration said. “As long as lithium-ion batteries continue to be used in e-cigarettes, severe injuries will continue to occur. As the number of e-cigarettes in use increases, the number of severe injuries from lithium-ion battery explosions and fires will likely continue to increase.”