This case involves a young man in Nevada who was seriously injured when an electronic cigarette he was using exploded in his face. At the time of the incident in question, the man was driving to work while using the e-cigarette, which had been purchased one month prior to the incident, in accordance with the directions in its instruction manual. While he was stopped at a red light the device suddenly exploded, fracturing the battery case and erupting in flames. As a result of the explosion the man suffered a number of injuries, including second degree burns to his face, lacerations in his mouth and throat, as well as the loss of several teeth. It was alleged that the device’s battery was defectively designed or manufactured in such a way that it allowed the lithium ion cells to undergo thermal runaway and explode.
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-043105
I am an expert in materials science and especially lithium ion batteries. My PhD dissertation was focused on the safety issues of lithium ion batteries and I also have a National Science Foundation grant supporting my research on the charge-discharge mechanism of lithium ion batteries, which is closely related to explosions caused by batteries. Thus, I am able to speak to the components of the e-cigarette, most notably the lithium ion battery and its associated risks. I have reviewed publications and research proposals dealing with the safety issues of lithium ion batteries.