A Kansas man seriously injured by an exploding e-cigarette is suing the Wichita shop where he bought a lithium-ion battery to power the device, claiming it was unsafe to use.
Like many people who use e-cigarettes, Daniel Anderson put the spare lithium-ion battery in his front pocket, along with his car keys and some coins, his lawsuit says, according to The Wichita Eagle. Contact with the other metal objects caused the lithium-ion battery to short and eventually to overheat and explode. The incident occurred on Feb. 29, 2016.
A lawyer representing Mr. Anderson described the incident to The Wichita Eagle as “like a flamethrower,” which left his client with severe chemical and thermal burn injuries over a large part of his left leg. His hands were also badly burned by reaching in his pocket to remove the fiery battery.
Mr. Anderson, 33, filed his lawsuit in Sedgwick County court Feb. 26, accusing Big E’s Vapor Shop of Wichita and VapeUSA Corp. of Oklahoma, which distributed the lithium-ion battery, of selling a dangerous and defective product.
According to The Wichita Eagle, the lawsuit alleges that the defendants knew or should have known that the e-cigarette battery’s defective design made it dangerous to use.
In a video published by The Wichita Eagle, Mr. Anderson’s lawyer says Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL), which sets electrical safety standards and certifies the safety of electrical devices, “came out with a standard that calls for a safe design to prevent external shorts.” However, the e-cigarette battery that Mr. Anderson bought did not have an alternative, safe design.
“Nobody thinks twice about putting a battery in their pocket. You have an extra one, that’s the first place it’s going to go,” Mr. Anderson’s lawyer told The Wichita Eagle.
Mr. Anderson also alleges the e-cig shop failed to warn him about the dangers the e-cigarette battery posed. The store told The Wichita Eagle that it gives safety information about e-cigarette batteries to customers who buy them.
“My client had no idea he shouldn’t put it in his pocket. And there are many other consumers out there that have been very severely injured just like him,” Mr. Anderson’s lawyer said, adding that there are safer alternatives that could be sold.