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E-cigarettes exploded, burned Florida men, lawsuits allege

An exploding e-cigarette engulfed James Dardini’s leg in flames a few hours after he arrived at work in Clermont, according to a lawsuit pending in Volusia Circuit Court.

The suit says Dardini had smoked his e-cig during his long commute from DeLand, about 60 miles away. The explosion sent him to the emergency room burn unit in December 2015, where he underwent surgery, according to the lawsuit.

Dardini’s lawsuit is one of two now pending in Florida against e-cigarette stores and manufacturers. Both are handled by Orlando attorney Mike Morgan of the Morgan & Morgan firm.

The other suit says north Florida resident James Lauria suffered serious injuries to his mouth, face and hand when his e-cig exploded in July 2015, as he took a break from work as a concierge at the Beach House in Destin.

Dardini is suing Deltona vape shop Sunshine Vapor, along with Kangertech and Perfect Vape. Lauria is suing Destin shop The Vapor Master, Nitecore Store and Uvaper LLC.

Stores and manufacturers are fighting similar lawsuits in other states, including a report from CNN about an explosion in the pocket of an employee at a New York City wine store and similar reports in California and Texas.

In the Dardini case, the e-cig companies have filed a motion to dismiss the case. It says buyers are cautioned against using the e-cig while driving long distances, in an instruction manual. The disclaimers also say not to use it in extreme temperatures and other conditions.

The Lauria case was just filed in mid-November, so the defendants’ attorneys haven’t responded yet.

Neither lawsuit states an amount the plaintiffs are seeking, beyond the statutory minimum of $15,000 for a state court civil case. The lawsuits seek a court judgment against the companies and various damages and costs.

Mike Morgan, attorney for the plaintiffs, said the devices use cheap batteries and lack proper ventilation, allowing heat from the battery to build up inside.

The modern e-cigarette was invented by Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik in 2003, although American inventor Herbert Gilbert had patented a similar concept in the 1960s.


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