Woman alleges severe burns from e-cigarette battery explosion

A woman claims she suffered severe burns when an e-cigarette battery exploded in her pocket.

Samantha Harvell filed the complaint on Aug. 9 in the Madison County Circuit Court against Mystic Vapes Inc. The suit was filed through attorney Matthew Chapman of Becker Schroader & Chapman PC in Granite City.

According to the complaint, Mystic Vapes operates a vaping supply store in Collinsville where it distributes and sells electronic cigarettes, also known as “vapes.”

“Despite being marketed as safer for consumers than traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes, which are powered by lithium-ion batteries, can fail and explode or catch fire,” the suit states.

Harvell claims she purchased vaping products from Mystic Vapes on Feb. 11, including Chinese Efest batteries. She alleges that same day, the batter caught fire while in her pocket and exploded. Harvell claims she sustained “substantial burns” to her chest, left arm, abdomen, leg and groin area.

Mystic Vapes is accused of negligently selling the battery without a plastic or silicone cover, failing to adequately warn the plaintiff of the explosion risk associated with the batteries and failing to warn Harvell on how to safely transport the batteries to prevent an explosion. She also claims the defendant failed to have “sufficient quality control procedures in place to verify that the batteries manufactured by foreign companies were safe for their intended use.”

Harvell alleges that a 2014 report by the U.S. Fire Administration and FEMA documented 25 separate incidents of e-cigarette explosions or fires in the U.S. between 2009 and 2014. There were 42 additional incidents in 2015 and 83 incidents in 2016, the suit states.

She seeks a judgment in excess of $50,000 for each count, plus court costs.

This article was first published in Madison Record.

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