Exploding E-Cig Lawsuits on the Rise

(Jay): Thank you so much. Jim Higgins joined us now. We’re talking about e-cigarette use. Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen tobacco use go down. E-cigarette use has gone up and now the use of e-cigarette lawsuits, the number of those have gone up as well.

Jim Higgins: Yes, there’s been a couple of hundred injury suits filed on these. You know, and the great thing everybody is promoting on these e-cigarettes - it is - that it is safer than smoking, right?

(Jay): Right.

Jim Higgins: And, we all know the dangers and the cancer associated with smoking, so we hope that that is correct. But, one problem they’re having is it has become so popular, so fast that they’re just pumping these machines out there, these e-cigarettes, and a lot of them - they’re using cheap batteries from China.

(Jay): Yes.

Jim Higgins: And, the batteries can get overcharged and explode.

(Jay): And, we’ve actually seen a couple of cases of this in some really gruesome details. These things exploding in your face, losing teeth, burn marks on your throat as well. So, if you file a lawsuit here in Tennessee against the company that manufacture this, how does that work? How do you prove that they’re liable for this?

Jim Higgins: Well, you know, proving that it was defective could be easy, I mean, it’s something that you have should not explode like that, right?

(Jay): Sure.

Jim Higgins: And, it’s the same thing as like we all plug in our phones at night, they don’t explode, so the liability is not that hard. What is hard in Tennessee is you have to sue the manufacturer, you can’t sue the retailer. And, trying to sue a company in China is a nightmare.

We’ve been involved in litigation, in products liability litigation. And, I’ve got a case right now with company in Germany we’re dealing with, no problem. I’ve got another products liability case with a company in New Zealand, no problem. China, the government doesn’t care. You can’t reach the companies. They don’t respond. It’s horrible and it leaves these people with these medical bills and problems.

(Jay): OK, so let me ask you this, because you’ve said this before as well. The FDA starting to crack down on this a little bit, do you see that changing in the future?

Jim Higgins: Yes, and they are just starting like next month. Now, most of what the FDA focuses on is what goes in your body, right?

(Jay): Yes.

Jim Higgins: So, it will be interesting to see if they’re just focusing on the chemicals that are being used or the actual product, the vape cigarette that delivers those and how broadly they’re going to expand it. And, I don't think everybody is really sure right now.

(Jay): I don't think this is the issue that’s going to be going away any time soon. Jim Higgins, thank you so much for joining us this morning.

Jim Higgins: Thank you, (Jay).