A California man is suing the world’s leading battery manufacturer over severe burn injuries he suffered when his e-cigarette exploded in his pants pocket.
According to the Los Angeles Times, 26-year-old Erik Howell of Glendale filed the personal injury lawsuit against LG Chem, the Korean chemical company that owns the lion’s share of the world’s battery market, in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Mr. Howell alleges an LG Chem battery for his e-cigarette “violently exploded” in the front left pocket of his pants Jan. 15, setting his clothes on fire. The white-hot flames from the battery severely burned his legs and genitals, the Los Angeles Times reported, including about 75 percent of the skin on his penis.
Mr. Howell was rushed to Kaiser Permanente in Panorama City. He was then transferred to the burn unit at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, according to his lawsuit.
The excruciating injuries left him with “a lot of nerve damage” and it is uncertain whether he will face a lifetime of “functional problems” or to what extent, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing his lawyer.
“Even though I try to go through my day … the public definitely needs to be aware of these batteries,” Mr. Howell said at a news conference in a Glendale hotel, announcing the lawsuit.
In addition to LG Chem, Mr. Howell also names as defendants two e-cigarette shops where he purchased the e-cigarette battery, charger, and other devices related to the e-cigarette, as well as others along the supply chain. His lawsuit alleges that poor design, defective manufacturing, and other factors can cause the battery’s internal temperature to rise and trigger a fire or explosion.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Mr. Howell’s lawsuit is one of 10 currently pending in several counties across California filed by people who suffer from e-cigarette explosion injuries, including second- and third-degree burns, loss of teeth, and loss of eyes.