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   An e-cigarette exploded and tore through a Santa Ana, CA man’s eye, smashed two cheekbones and then started a fire, according to a lawsuit against vaping retailers and distributors. The victim, Joseph Cavins, and his wife of 32 years say injuries from vaping are a real and growing problem in an industry whose U.S. sales have ballooned from $20 million in 2008 to $2.5 billion in 2014.

     As reported by Courthouse News Service, Cavins, a public school counselor and private therapist, began vaping in 2014 to try to wean himself off chewing tobacco. While working at his computer on April 15 of this year with his e-cigarette beside him, it “suddenly exploded, striking Joseph in the left eye, continuing past his head, hitting the ceiling, ricocheting off the wall and landing on top of the computer station, where it started a fire,” he says in his May 19 complaint in Orange County Court.  It smashed his orbital and sinus bones, “left several pieces of shrapnel inside the eyeball itself [and] Joseph lost his left eyeball as a result.”
     His wife extinguished the fire and drove him to two hospitals for seven hours of surgery, after which doctors said it would be safer to remove his left eyeball to avoid the possibility that his body’s immune system would attack his right eye as well, leaving him blind. He will need more surgery to fix his broken bones, reconstructive surgery on his sinus cavity, and he and his wife have both missed work.
     Cavins sued four distributors and retailers: The Vapor Loft, VapeItUp, Lan & Mike International Trading dba Vapor DNA, and Vaping American Made Products — all California LLCs.
     Most vaping machines are made in China. They consists of a tank or cartridge to hold the liquid nicotine and flavorings, an atomizer, and a lithium-ion battery to heat the juice. It’s the batteries that “have an inherent risk of fire and explosion” and have repeatedly caused “explosions, fires and serious injury,” Cavins says in the complaint.
     Last week, Courthouse News reported a lawsuit from a San Diego man who said his e-cigarette exploded and smashed four teeth. Cavins’ lawsuit cites the case of a New Jersey man whose vape exploded in his pocket and set his pants on fire. A medical report in that case, and others, cited “‘poor design, use of low-quality materials, manufacturing flaws and defects, and improper use and handling, which can all contribute to a condition known as “thermal runaway,” where the internal battery temperature can increase to the point of causing a battery fire or explosion,'” Cavins says.
     In essence, the tube functions like a gun barrel, and “the battery can be propelled like a bullet or rocket,” Cavins says, citing an October 2014 reports from the U.S. Fire Administration, “Electronic Cigarette Fires and Explosions.”
     The complaint continues: “There are different methods to protect against these batteries, but because of a lack of regulation, the protections are left up to the e-cigarette manufacturers.”
     The 26-page lawsuit, which contains a wealth of information about the vaping industry, claims, as have critics of vaping, that the electronic smokes are aimed at children. “Since e-cigarette marketing is completely unfettered and unregulated, e-cigarette products reach minors and people who would never smoke a traditional cigarette,” the complaint states.
     “The variety of flavors offered, including root beer float, bubble gum, and cotton candy, further target and spark the intrigue of minors.” Cavins attributes that allegation to a 2015 report from the California Department of Public Health: “State Health Officer’s Report on E-Cigarettes: A Community Health Threat.”
     Cavins also blames the unrestricted advertising of vaping, on TV and radio, “where tobacco advertisements have been banned for more than 40 years.” And, he says, vape smoke often contains lead, nickel, formaldehyde and acetaldehyde, which are carcinogenic.
     Cavins and his wife Patricia seek punitive, special and general damages, property damages, interest and legal costs for product liability and loss of consortium. They are also seeking punitive damages for strict product liability, negligent product liability and loss of consortium.
     A representative for The Vapor Loft said the company is aware of the lawsuit and declined to comment.

The upper-deck railing at Turner Field should have been higher than 33 inches, the family of a man who fell to his death at an Atlanta Braves game last year claimed in court. In a wrongful-death suit filed in Fulton County, Georgia against the Braves and Major League Baseball,  the family of Greg Murrey says his death could easily have been prevented if Turner Field had guardrails at least 42 inches high.

As reported by The Courthouse News, Murrey, 60, was sitting in section 401 of the stadium on Aug. 29, 2015, when he stood up to boo New York Yankees hitter Alex Rodriguez as he was walked to the plate. The season-ticket holder then fell over the railing and plummeted 50 feet, landing on concrete. He was later pronounced dead at Grady Memorial Hospital.

“The Braves and MLB knew that spectators at baseball games get up during the course of a game — both spontaneously to react to events at the stadium and in response to prompting by an announcer,” the complaint states.

A former peanut company executive serving a 28-year prison sentence will not have to pay money to victims of a deadly salmonella outbreak linked to his Georgia facility, a federal judge ruled.

As reported in the Claims Journal, former Peanut Corporation of America owner Stewart Parnell and three co-defendants were spared by the judge on Wednesday from paying restitution to the families of hundreds who got sick after eating tainted peanut butter in 2008 and 2009. The outbreak was blamed for nine deaths and 714 illnesses.

Convicted of knowingly shipping tainted peanut butter and faking results of lab tests for salmonella, Parnell received the harshest criminal penalty ever for a U.S. producer in a food-borne illness case when he was sentenced to prison in September. His brother, food broker Michael Parnell, got 20 years in prison.

Valentina Azzia vividly remembers the moment her son nearly drowned in a pool while on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas.

Now, as reported by Florida’s WPLG Local 10 News, she has filed a lawsuit demanding that cruise lines provide lifeguards at children’s pools.

“Really in a matter of seconds we realized that our son wasn’t there anymore and we started looking for him,”  Azzia said. “He was at the bottom of the pool.”

The number of pedestrians killed in traffic accidents is expected to have risen by as much as 10 percent in 2015, reports The Insurance Journal, making it the biggest increase ever recorded.

The annual Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) Spotlight on Highway Safety Report offers the first look at 2015 pedestrian fatality trends, based on data from state highway agencies. “We are projecting the largest year-to-year increase in pedestrian fatalities since national records have been kept, and therefore we are quite alarmed,” said Richard Retting, one of the report’s authors from Sam Schwartz Consulting.

Since the Fatality Analysis Reporting System was established in 1975, the annual change pedestrian fatalities has varied from a 10.5 percent decrease to an 8.1 percent increase.

With an impending trial, Christus Hospital-St. Mary has reportedly settled a medical malpractice lawsuit alleging the health care provider and a nurse negligently caused a newborn’s skull fracture. On behalf of her baby, Ezra Dorsey, Annie Dorsey filed suit against Christus and Leslie Lovelace in Jefferson County, Texas District Court, according to The Southeast Texas Record.

According to the petition, Ezra and her twin brother were born prematurely on Aug. 14, 2010. Ezra was then admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit. On Sept. 13, 2010, Ezra suffered a skull fracture after she was dropped or pulled to the floor by Lovelace, a registered nurse who was responsible for taking care of the infant.

Court records show Christus transferred Ezra to UTMB hospital in Galveston “for an expert evaluation by a neurosurgeon and a neurologist based upon the request of Ezra’s family.”  Dorsey claims that neurosurgeon, Dr. Aaron Mohanty, evaluated Ezra a few months after her fall and opined that the fall caused Ezra’s skull fracture, the skull fracture caused “significant trauma”, and the fracture had not yet healed, court records show.

A woman’s cochlear implants shocked her and made an earsplitting noise when they were damaged by a Wal-Mart theft-alarm system, reports Courthouse News. Yvette Garces had one of the implants surgically replaced and is scheduled to have the other replaced in March, according to a lawsuit she filed last week in Federal Court.

Cochlear implants are installed in a patient’s inner ear and connect to an external transmitter behind their ear. Unlike hearing aids, they don’t amplify sounds. Instead they convert them to electric signals that are sent through the auditory nerve to the brain.

Garces and her husband sued Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Cochlear Americas and Tyco Integrated Security on Feb. 12, two days before the two-year statute of limitations deadline on their claims. Garces says her hearing and health were damaged by a visit to a Wal-Mart store in Quakertown, PA., on Feb. 14, 2014.

A federal judge on Jan. 5 threw out a $21.5 million jury verdict awarded to an Illinois man who claimed he was injured during a cruise in 2011, after the man’s former assistant came forward to say he had intentionally deleted emails that could have hurt his case.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Rothstein ordered a new trial, saying she found the assistant’s testimony at a hearing last month credible – and that newly uncovered emails expose “grave inconsistencies” with James Hausman’s story.

According to the Claims Journal, Hausman, of Springfield, Illinois, sued Holland America Line in 2013. He said he suffered dizziness and seizures after an automatic sliding door improperly closed and struck his head as the ship approached Honolulu. After a two-week trial in October, a jury awarded him $21.5 million.

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The family of a 55-year-old worker who accidentally plummeted to his death at the University of Portland’s Chiles Center has filed a $13.3 million lawsuit against the university.

The lawsuit states that on Sept. 22, 2014, Thomas Charles “TC” Smith Jr. was using a Genie Personal Lift machine – provided by the university – to reach lights and speakers high above a stage. The lift tipped over, causing him to fall to the gym floor and hit his head, according to the suit filed last week in Multnomah County Circuit Court.

Smith died in hospice more than three months later, according to The Oregonian.

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A wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of a 16-year-old German exchange student who fell head first into a pocket of loose snow while skiing at Whitefish Mountain Resort will go to trial, ruled a federal judge.

According to the Claims Journal lawsuit, filed in 2013, also names the exchange agency and host family, contending gross negligence. The plaintiffs are his mother, Patricia Birkhold-Waschle, his father, Raimund Waschle, and his brother, Philip Waschle.

The lawsuit said Niclas Waschle was skiing alone on the edge of a groomed trail on Dec. 29, 2010, when he fell headfirst into a tree well and suffocated. The family is seeking damages and compensation, plus medical expenses.

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