Spokane woman suing over e-cigarette burns

Spokane woman suing over e-cigarette burns

SPOKANE, Wash. - Four people from Washington are filing lawsuits against makers and sellers of e-cigarettes after suffering burns and injuries when their e-cigarettes exploded.

It's tough to look at; people wounded when their vaporizers exploded in their mouths or their pockets. One of the people filing suit is a woman from Spokane.

Seattle attorney James Rogers says his client, 45-year-old Marlene Rubertt, is still recovering from her injuries. Back in January, she was watching a Gonzaga basketball game, when she inhaled her e-cig and it suddenly exploded in her face.

"She had severe injuries to her mouth and face and she had burns to her chest and mouth and neck as a result because it happens real fast," says Rogers.

He said she had multiple bone grafting surgeries and restructuring to her jaw.

"The lithium-ion batteries that are being constructed are not safe and people that sell them should know this," say Rogers.

General Manager Joey Blodgett sells e-cigarettes at Sublime Vapor in Spokane.

"They are trying to demonize our market with this. People are blowing up their faces? Not really. How many people have lit their house on fire or burnt their house down? I bet more than people blowing themselves up with an e-cig. They are attacking us when you should know basic things about battery safety," says Blodgett.

Blodgett says the products can be safe as long as you use them properly.

"If you are doing it unsafely, you can blow yourself up. It is possible if you don't know what you're doing," he said.

He said people who vape also make the mistake of building their own e-cigs at home, or use the wrong batteries, causing it to explode.

But Rogers says the products are simply not safe.

"They are not products that are, you know, that are going to be used safely if people think they are using them safely," says Rogers.
The FDA plans to talk about rules and regulations regarding e-cigs later this month. Rogers said they may try to put e-cigs in the same category as tobacco.

Rogers also wouldn't confirm any monetary damages any clients would get in the settlements.