LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Two Southern California men filed lawsuits against the makers, wholesalers and retailers of electronic cigarettes on Monday, July 11, after the lithium-ion battery contained within their E-cig devices exploded in the pocket of their pants.
Attorneys for Plaintiff Thomas Vickrey and Plaintiff Juan Carlos Ceja said each man have suffered significant burns as a result of a spontaneous explosion and resulting fire from their defective battery-powered device.
According to his suit, Vickrey, a Los Angeles County resident, had been seated with friends at a Sherman Oaks restaurant On the evening of Dec. 29, 2015, when he heard a loud noise coming from under their table. Realizing sparks were shooting from his pants pocket, the 28-year-old Vickrey immediately jumped from the table and was forced to pull down his pants in the crowded restaurant as they, and his leg, burst into flames.
Vickrey suffered severe burns and permanent injury and scarring to his body — including his entire thigh, knee and calf — and suffers from great emotional distress, which are both a direct and proximate result of the defective E-cigarette, battery, and accompanying component parts, the suit said.
Ceja, a San Bernardino county resident, had a similar experience this year on Feb. 7. As the 49-year-old man walked to his garage, he felt extreme heat and heard the lithium ion battery within his E-cigarette explode in the left pocket of his jeans. The incident, according to his suit, resulted in Mr. Ceja suffering significant burns to his left thigh, knee and calf as well as burns to his fingers.
According to an October 2014 report filed by the U.S. Fire Administration, more than two dozen incidents of explosion and fire involving E-cigarettes were documented between 2009 and 2014 and the list continues to grow, the attorneys said. Unlike many battery-powered consumer products, such as cell phones and tablets, E-cigarettes are not subjected to stringent safety tests before going to market.
There is no government regulation in place mandating the safety of the electronics or batteries found in these devices, despite their obvious danger and continued growth in popularity, the attorneys said.