E-cigs, lithium-ion batteries: explosions continue causing pain

posted on:
December 16, 2016

William Sutton

E-cigs and their lithium-ion batteries continue exploding and leaving consumers with serious injuries and excruciating pain. Our firm is hearing increasing reports about lithium-ion batteries’ extreme volatility. Consumers should not be deceived by their small size.

Until recently, injury and damage caused by devices and batteries was infrequent. Yet, the number of incidents has kept pace with the growing reliance on these unsafe products. New occurrences grab headlines more frequently than ever before, including two high-profile cases that recently made national headlines just two weeks apart.

The day before Thanksgiving, Otis Gooding was working at a store in Grand Central Terminal in New York City. While he was talking with co-workers, sparks began to shoot from his pants pocket after his e-cig exploded. Gooding suffered second- and third-degree burns on his leg, thigh and hand. Even after two surgeries, doctors say he still has a long recovery ahead and will likely suffer pain the rest of his life.

A Heartland Institute blog post cites Canadian professor from the University of Victoria and e-cig hardware expert, Christopher E. Lalonde, Ph.D. Based on photos and video footage of the incident, Dr. Lalonde believes Gooding’s explosion happened when spare batteries and loose coins placed in the same pocket interacted.

Two weeks later, an off-duty emergency medical technician suffered second-degree burns on his thigh and hand when his e-cig exploded. Ricardo Jimenez was driving when he heard “little noises” coming from the e-cig’s batteries. He reached to retrieve them from his pocket just as the batteries exploded. Now, each step is agonizing and any movement of his injured hand causes unbearable pain.

Just this week, an American Airlines flight from Dallas to Indianapolis was forced to make an emergency landing in Arkansas after a passenger’s e-cig malfunctioned and sparked a fire in the cabin. Fortunately, none of the 137 passengers were injured thanks to the swift actions of crew members who quickly extinguished the fire. While there were no injuries nor damage to the aircraft, the potential for both reduced all passengers’ and crew members’ safety.

Consumers must exercise caution with these products until manufactures make them safer. Consumer safety tips regarding lithium-ion batteries are available on the Beasley Allen website.

If you would like more information about lithium-ion batteries, you can contact Will Sutton, a lawyer in Toxic Torts Section. He can be reached at 800-898-2034 or by email at William.Sutton@beasleyallen.com.

Heartland Institute

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