In 2015 we filed one of the very first e-cig battery explosion lawsuits in the country.
The case involved a young man who was vaping in an effort to quit smoking (often the case with vape products). He purchased a vape device at a local store and a battery to operate the e-cig vape machine. (See here for additional e-cig battery safety)
The battery was rechargeable, and on the day of the explosion, the young man (who was a ranch hand) was out fixing fences.
The vape device was in his truck, and the battery was in his pocket. The battery is interchangeable and can be used in a variety of devices, including flash lights, etc.
He suddenly felt an extreme heat in his right leg, looked down and saw flames and sparks flying out from his right-side pocket. As quickly as he could, he undid his boots and ripped his jeans off. The results of the e-cig batter explosion were second degree burns on his right thigh and right hand. Second degree burns are routinely recognized as being the most painful of burns.
How the battery exploded in his pocket we will never be sure, but the prevailing thought was he must have had some sort of metal shaving(s) in his pocket that came into contact with the battery and caused it to explode. However, the young man was not a welder nor was he working with metal shavings. The possibility remains that the battery simply exploded on its own.
Tests of these batteries have taken place and many show just the destructive nature of these dangerous products.
We were the third law firm he had contacted. The first two said there was nothing they could do for him since the manufacturer of the battery was a Chinese company and one could not successfully sue a Chinese manufacturer.
What these law firms did not know, is that a distributor of a dangerous product can be held liable for the products they sell. We took his case, named the vape store as the defendant and the case later resolved.
It has been fairly recent that awareness has come about in the public forum regarding these dangerous batteries, but the awareness is growing. The dangers and resulting damage of these batteries can be catastrophic (see photo above and see video here).
Be mindful if you utilize such batteries. Keep them in a case at all times (the vape store we sued now provides a case for such batteries free of charge).
Or best of all, just don’t buy them.