A South Florida jury has awarded more than $15 million in damages to a man who suffered burns when a spare electronic cigarette battery exploded in his pocket.
Jurors found that Broward County resident Manuel Ortega suffered $5 million in past damages for pain and suffering and will suffer another $10 million in future damages. They also determined that he should recover about $21,000 in medical expenses related to the 2016 incident.
Ortega filed suit in 2017, alleging that he suffered third degree burns throughout his lower extremities after the spare battery exploded, resulting in it leaking acid and causing his leg to catch fire.
He said he had only used the battery for about a month and had not subjected it to overuse or abuse prior to the March 2016 incident.
The battery was made by Shenzhen Battery Company Ltd., which sold it to Hollywood, Florida-based EcigRus, which in turn sold it to Vapor Life’s store in Plantation, Florida, for retail sale.
Ortega’s suit claimed there were several defects in the design and manufacture of the battery, including an absence of adequate thermal protection, but the complaint did not name Shenzhen Battery as a defendant.
Instead, it held that the other defendants had certain duties when making the product available to consumers.
The suit brought claims of strict liability and negligence against the defendants.