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Lawsuit Filed After E-Cigarette Explodes in New Jersey Man’s Pocket

close up portrait of a man smoking an e-cigaretteA lawsuit was recently filed alleging that an exploding e-cigarette in a New Jersey man’s pants pocket caused severe burns to his leg and emotional hardship sufficient to alter his life. The suit alleges that the store that sold the product, Gorilla Vapes, and LG Chem LTD, a company making e-liquids, knew the product was both defective and dangerous.

Gorilla Vapes sells e-cigarettes and e-liquids in New Jersey, with roughly six stores scattered throughout the state. The exploding product was bought in one. The company’s website indicates that it both sells and develops “designer e-cigs.”

Medical costs sought in e-cig injury lawsuit

The lawsuit was brought by the alleged victim and his wife, William and Kathleen Barrese. Mr. Barrese was hospitalized and consulted a specialist after the explosion, which caused flames to shoot down his leg. He carried the e-cigarette in his pocket at work.

The accident happened in late December. The suit is seeking damages, ongoing medical costs, and legal fees.

Exploding e-cigarettes: an ongoing problem

Electronic cigarettes and vaporizers (where the term “vaping” comes from), are often marketed and used as a way of curbing tobacco smoking, and thus limiting the health risks of smoking.

However, they have turned out to have an unexpected consequence that is not safe. It is increasingly clear that these products pose a serious danger of explosion and burns.

The recent New Jersey suit is one in a line alleging malfunctioning batteries. They can short, explode, and catch on fire. All of this can cause serious burns and other harm to users and people and property in proximity to them.

These lawsuits and reports also indicate problems with charges, both manufacturer and third party. These can also supercharge and explode.

In the e-cig or charger is kept in a pants pocket with change and keys, the metal contact can cause the battery to short and explode.

Given the accumulating evidence that the devices themselves are not safe, both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the American Medical Association are becoming increasingly interested in regulating them. This is a separate issue from their healthcare-related safety, as products curtailing tobacco use.

Last year, the FDA’s authority was extended to cover all manufacture, packaging, labeling, advertising, promotion, sale, distribution, and importation of these products.

In April 2017, the FDA will hold a public workshop to discuss the safety concerns regarding these products. The results will be made public in May 2017.

If your e-cigarette explodes

The e-cigarette explosion lawyers at Edelman Krasin & Jaye want to give all e-cig users a warning about the potential dangers posed by the batteries.

If you have experienced injuries from a device or battery, contact our firm immediately for a free consultation. We will discuss your legal rights to compensation under product liability law.

Given the uncertainty, it might be wise to cease using e-cigarette products until the safety picture is clarified. However, if you have been the victim of an exploding or burning e-cigarette, take prudent steps:

  • Save any evidence, including the device, battery, and charger. Any burned clothing or damaged items should be saved.
  • Take pictures of this evidence and any injuries or other damage.
  • Get all relevant medical records
  • Ask if surveillance video that documented the explosion is available.

We have experienced lawyers who have fought for injury victims for more than 50 years. Call us today for a free case review with a product liability lawyer.

Additional “e-cigarette explosion lawsuit” resources:

  1. McCarthy, Craig. “Man Sues After E-Cig Explodes in Pocket, Shooting Flames Down Pants.” NJ.com. March 27, 2017. http://www.nj.com/middlesex/index.ssf/2017/03/nj_man_sues_after_e-cig_explodes_in_pocket_shootin.html
  2. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Tobacco Products. Vaporizers, E-Cigarettes, and Other Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS). https://www.fda.gov/TobaccoProducts/Labeling/ProductsIngredientsComponents/ucm456610.htm