A former U.S. Navy SEAL, from the Dallas area, is suing an e-cigarette retailer, distributor and manufacturer after he was severely burned when his e-cigarette battery exploded in his pant pocket.
Matthew Bonestele's LG Chem HG2 18650 battery exploded in his right pocket on April 21, 2016. The blast caused third degree burns to most of his right leg and tore a hole in his upper right thigh.
On Monday, a spokesperson for Houston attorney Randy Sorrels announced he would represent Bonestele, who first filed his product liability lawsuit in July 2016.
"As more and more people have made the switch to electronic cigarettes as an alternative to smoking, battery explosions and injuries have been on the rise," Sorrels' office wrote in a statement.
The lawsuit claims LG Chem America, Inc. defectively designed and manufactured the e-cigarette battery, which the lawsuit alleges did not have warnings alerting users to its potential danger. The e-cigarette was distributed by Lightfire Group, LLC. and sold to Bonestele by Great Vapes, LLC. -- both of which are named in the lawsuit.
"Mr. Bonestele suffered an injury that he could never have imagined in civilian life," Sorrels said in a statement. "The reality is that these batteries are small sticks of dynamite and the e-cigarette industry needs to make wholesale changes to ensure the safety of all those who use these batteries."
Sorrels also said the danger was not limited to Bonestele, adding everyone around him was at risk, too.
On Friday, the Navy banned e-cigarettes from its vessels after several reports of exploding devices injuring sailors.
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