This case involves an individual who was severely injured by an e-cigarette. The individual just finished smoking the e-cigarette outside of a local mall and placed the device into his front left pocket. After 10 minutes of walking in the mall, the e-cigarette heated up and exploded in his pocket. The individual suffered severe burns on his thigh as a result. It was alleged that defective lithium-ion batteries caused the explosion. An expert in e-cigarettes, particularly with lithium-ion batteries, was sought to opine on the components of the cigarette as well as their risk of overheating and explosion.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Please explain why you are qualified to review this matter.
- 2. Can you speak to the components of the e-cigarette, most notably the lithium-ion battery, and discuss its risk for explosion?
Expert Witness Response E-042630
My initial thoughts are that the most likely probabilities for the event will fall into three possible scenarios. First, that poor manufacturing control created a quality issue that initiated the event. Secondly, that the fundamental design of the product may not have properly allowed for the variability which should be anticipated in manufacturing — i.e. the design was not properly robust enough to accommodate standard manufacturing variability. Third, that the combination of both of the first two points may have existed wherein the design was not properly robust and manufacturing variability may have been excessive. It is unlikely that the user is at fault as proper design and manufacturing preclude operator induced failures such as this. Regarding liability aspects for lithium ion, I have performed the actual abuse tests (fire, etc.) and reliability testing and subsequent expert analysis of results which have been part of the due diligence effort. This has been done within commercial relationships — i.e. buyers and suppliers and not a physically injured party. My prior experience in the legal arena has been in the context of intellectual property disputes, patent infringement etc. and has been in the form of patent reviews and depositions.