As a San Francisco e-cigarette accident attorney, it feels like I can’t go one day without hearing a new e-cigarette battery explosion story. The injuries from e-cigarettes batteries just keep piling up. This time, an exploding e-cig battery caused a man to suffer first and second degree burns to his thigh and scrotum after his cigarette battery pack malfunctioned during use.
Although the debate on the health effects linked to electronic cigarette still rages on, David Powell, and his wife, Shaye Powell, don’t believe there is much to debate about after the injuries he got from the exploding battery.
[image credit: Lindsay Fox, original found here]
“I went outside to help my grandmother out of a truck, and that is when it actually exploded on me” said David Powell, who still has the pair of shorts he was wearing when the device exploded, melting through his pocket and severely injuring him. “They had to clean out the lithium and everything, they were giving me morphine, it wasn’t working at all.”
David and his wife have since filed a lawsuit, alleging the store was negligent in selling the device, failing to warn consumers of the potential risk. Their attorney notes that although the battery pack was manufactured in China, that the retailer Vixen Vapors is liable for stocking the dangerous product. Damages are estimated at over 1 Million dollars.
Vixen Vapors has since placed signs at its stores warning customers of the potential dangers from exploding batteries.
As a San Francisco e-cigarette attorney, I am getting more and more calls every day about exploding batteries and users injured and seeking justice after suffering at the hands of the electronic cigarette industry. In California, any manufacturer or distributor or retailer is strictly liable if they have introduced a defective product into the stream of commerce, and someone suffers injury because of that product. So, even though these dangerous batteries are usually made in countries like China, Korea, or Japan, if a U.S. company distributed the dangerous product or if a store or online outlet sold the product to retail consumers, these entities can also be directly responsible and they should be made accountable.
The more I learn about the batteries in these electronic cigarettes the more I understand that they should never have even been sold in their current state. An Eveready alkaline battery comes protected, with heavy plastic surrounding the element, whereas e-cigarette batteries have only the thinnest plastic wrap that can be worn off just by placing it in one’s pocket. It seems that causing a short circuit to these batteries is very easy and that short circuits can very easily cause leaking and explosions. Also few of these batteries ever come with warnings about the dangers of over-charging or of carrying the batteries in your pocket. In fact, there are only a few e-cigarette “mods” or devices that have any type of warning on the device at all, and consumers are largely unaware of the dangers these batteries pose if they are carried in a person’s pocket, or if they are overcharged, or both.
Claude A. Wyle is a partner of Choulos Choulos, and Wyle, a San Francisco based law firm dedicated to representing clients who have been injured by the wrongful conduct of individuals, corporations, public entities, and businesses. Mr. Wyle also frequently sits as a Judge Pro Tem for the city and county of San Francisco.