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E-cigarette explodes in man’s pants while shopping in store

February 9, 2019
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One of the most common questions that our New York City product liability attorneys here is “I got hurt because a product was defective, what are my rights”.  It is a basic tenant of New York product liability law that products are supposed to be reasonably safe under foreseeable uses. Our New York dangerous product lawyers have represented countless people who have sustained personal injuries because of unsafe products.

Recently an e-cigarette exploded in a many pants and caused serious burns. The identity of the product that caused a plaintiff’s injury is the threshold requirement of a products liability claim. Hence, a plaintiff must show causation in a products liability case. On August 29, 2018, an e-cigarette exploded unexpectedly in a man’s pocket recently while he was shopping at a store in Anaheim, California. The incident was caught on surveillance video and shows the man shopping for televisions in a store, when suddenly flames burst from his pants, burning part of his clothing off. As the victim went to the restroom to tend to his burns, another man stomped out the battery that was still on fire. The victim eventually went to the hospital for treatment. Our New York personal injury lawyers know that a product that spontaneously explodes is not a reasonably safe product.

This isn’t the first electronic cigarette incident. In May 2018, a Florida man died after parts of an e-cigarette penetrated his head, an autopsy determined. A 38-year-old man suffered thermal injuries to about 80 percent of his body, according to an autopsy report. His body was found inside a burning home and his death was ruled accidental.

A threshold requirement of any products-liability claim is that the plaintiff assert that the defendant’s product caused the plaintiff’s injury. In a products liability case, “[a] plaintiff may advance three different causes of action against a manufacturer: (1) strict liability, (2) negligence, and (3) breach of warranty.”  Negligence can be in the manufacturing of the product or the design of the product. For warranty lawsuits every product sale in New York incorporates the warranty of merchantability which means the good is merchantability, ie reasonably safe for its normal use. Causation exists as a “threshold requirement of any products-liability claim,” and it requires plaintiffs to “assert that the defendant’s product” is responsible for the injury.

Our New York trial Attorney’s know that in products liability case the plaintiff must plead factual allegations from which the Court can reasonably infer the defendants’ liability and that defendant’s product must cause Plaintiff’s injury to be liable. In addition, the complaint must contain facts for “all material elements necessary for recovery.” The mere fact that someone believes something to be true” in a products case “does not create a plausible inference that it is true.  The U.S. Fire Administration conducted a report and found that fires or explosions from e-cigarette batteries were not common; however, when the battery dies it can replicate a “flaming rocket.” The report examined incidents from 2009 to 2016 and stated no one had died from e-cigarette fires in the United States. Given the severity of the result there should be a warning of when a battery is about to die or a product that allows the battery to die without combustion such as lining  the battery with anti combustion properties.

 
The Law Offices of Michael H. Joseph