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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 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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As reported in the Louisiana Record, a customer at Deanie’s Seafood asserts that he ingested a spider while eating a platter of seafood.

Lee Taylor filed suit against Chifici Enterprises Inc. and Deanie’s Seafood in the Orleans Parish Civil District Court on Feb. 18.

On Feb. 23, 2014 Taylor was dining at Deanie’s Seafood in New Orleans when he ordered and consumed a platter of seafood which allegedly contained a spider. Taylor claims that he did not become aware of the spider until he ate a portion of it. As a result, Taylor contends he became extremely ill and distressed.

A driver for Uber Technologies Inc. whose car hit and killed a six-year-old girl crossing a San Francisco street last January was charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter, according to a spokesman for the city’s district attorney.

The arrest of the driver on Dec. 8, 2014, following a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the girl’s family, could be another setback for the company as it strives to convince regulators that it is safe. The app-based transportation service has received criticism in some cities for using drivers who don’t have taxi or limousine licenses.

Portland, Oregon recently cited licensing violations in a lawsuit seeking to block Uber from operating there just three days after it started. Officials in Rio de Janeiro similarly accused the car service of operating illegally in that city, while the Dehli state government shut down Uber in the Indian capital after one of its drivers was accused of rape.

A man is suing Wal-Mart Stores, claiming he was wrongfully accused of theft and unlawfully detained for two hours.

Alexander Ulteanu filed a lawsuit Oct. 21 in Cook County Circuit Court against Wal-Mart Stores Inc., and three employees.

According to the complaint, Ulteanu was shopping at the Walmart in Niles, IL on Aug. 22, when he selected a number of items to purchase, proceeded to a checkout counter, waited for the cashier to ring up the total, and paid the cashier.

At a barbecue hosted by Daniel Hylton, eight-year-old Tabitha Lasley was injured when she was thrown to the ground from an ATV she had been operating. Tabitha’s father, Gene Mosley, was supervising her during the incident.

Tabitha and her mother, Juanita Lasley filed a complaint alleging that Hylton had been grossly negligent by allowing and assisting Tabitha to operate the ATV.

The circuit court judged in Hylton’s favor, concluding that Hylton had no duty to Tabitha that could support a finding of negligence. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) if a child’s parent is present and supervising and knows of risks associated with an activity, a host does not breach the duty of reasonable care when he allows the child to participate in an activity with the parent’s permission; and (2) Hylton satisfied his duty of reasonable care to Tabitha when he ensured that Tabitha was being supervised by Moseley and had his permission to ride the ATV.

A Louisiana woman is suing a physical therapist and clinic after she allegedly was allowed to fall and injure herself while in their care, necessitating two surgeries and several months of being bedridden.

As reported in The Louisiana Record, Cornelia Degenova, and husband Thomas, filed suit against Craig Dautrieve and Orthopedic & Sports Therapy of Kenner Inc.

on Aug. 22.

A New Jersey woman suffered first and second degree burns when a pressure cooker she purchased from the Home Shopping Network unexpectedly sprayed her with boiling water, according to a personal injury suit filed at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

As reported by The Pennsylvania Record McGowan, of Berlin, N.J., seeks compensatory and punitive damages in excess of $100,000 on nine separate counts from HSN and the maker of the appliance, Wolfgang Puck Worldwide, Inc.

According to the complaint, McGowan purchased the pressure cooker on June 7, 2008, through an order placed on HSN. Pressure cookers prepare food by boiling liquids inside a sealed pot, producing steam that is captured inside the appliance.

A Vermont woman who was hurt trying to protect her daughter from a malfunctioning July 4 fireworks display can continue her negligence lawsuit, a New York appeals court ruled.

As reported in Courthouse News, Lisa Evarts and her family were attending a fireworks show in Ticonderoga, N.Y. in 2008. The show featured over 1,000 fireworks. A half-hour into the show, one of the shells malfunctioned and blew up inside the mortar. The explosion caused a second mortar to become dislodged, and a third mortar was fired into the crowd. It struck a spectator’s cooler and exploded.

Evarts tried to shield her daughter and her daughter’s friend, but her right hand slipped on the grass, and she felt a “pop.” She suffered a torn ligament, which required surgery.

Hawthorne police beat and Tasered a deaf man as he signed to them that he was deaf and his friend had given him the snowboard he was carrying, claimed the victim in court.

In a federal complaint for violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Jonathan Meister claimed the attack could have been avoided had Hawthorne trained its police officers to communicate with the hearing impaired.

Officers confronted Meister on Feb. 13 outside a friend’s home as he picked up a snowboard and clothing for a trip to Utah, Meister stated in the lawsuit.

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