RIVERSIDE, Calif., Jan. 7, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Gregory L. Bentley, Matthew Clark, Jaimi Groothuis and Farnaz Salessi of Bentley & More LLP obtained a favorable ruling on a motion for summary judgment/adjudication filed by Korean electronics giant Samsung SDI in a case involving an exploding e-cigarette Samsung lithium-ion battery. According to the complaint, Bentley & More's client had purchased the Samsung batteries on the recommendation of an e-cig retailer, and used them without issue until April 14, 2018, when the Samsung battery exploded in his pocket, inflicting second- and third-degree burns on his left leg and genitalia, requiring a brutal skin-graft surgery, and leaving him with permanent scarring, discoloration, and hyper-sensitivity.
According to the lawsuit, Samsung had known since at least January 2016 that individual consumers were purchasing and using Samsung batteries for use in electronic cigarettes—a use that Samsung allegedly knew would subject consumers to potential harm. Instead of taking meaningful action to limit the risk or remove its batteries from the marketplace, Samsung ignored the problem, failed to even attempt to discern its scope, and instead placed profits over public safety by continuing to flood the market with hundreds of millions of its batteries—resulting in at least 88 cases filed against Samsung for similar battery explosion issues.
In this action, Samsung filed a motion for summary judgment/adjudication attempting to dismiss the case, including a request to dismiss claims for punitive damages. But its longstanding knowledge that Samsung batteries were being used in electronic cigarettes, were making their way to individual consumers, were exploding and causing injuries, combined with its failure to take meaningful action, were more than sufficient to raise a triable issue of fact. The Court denied Samsung's motion in its entirety, leaving it to the trier of fact to determine not only Samsung's liability for the harm caused by its batteries, but Samsung's culpability for punitive damages as well.
"Samsung has known for years that its batteries were being used in e-cigarette products," said Greg Bentley. "Shockingly, they admitted under oath that their batteries aren't safe for e-cigarette use, yet they essentially did nothing to prevent them from getting into the market. A simple Google search shows thousands of websites and stores, including Walmart.com, still selling these dangerous Samsung lithium-ion batteries. Instead of getting them off the market, Samsung has taken the greedy path putting profit over safety, evidenced by the huge uptick in sales of just this one model alone – from 14.1 million sales in 2015 to 63.7 million in 2017, and many millions more over the last 3 years. Enough is enough. We look forward to the jury seeing the evidence and holding Samsung accountable."
It is believed that this is the first of its kind ruling regarding punitive damages claimed against Samsung involving injuries suffered as a result of an e-cigarette battery explosion.
The case is entitled Copp v. Vaapescape, Inc. and Samsung SDI Co., LTD., Riverside Superior Court case number MCC1800993, and is set for a jury trial on September 3, 2021. A copy of that ruling can be found here.
CONTACT: Joe Marchelewski 1-310-462-2252 [email protected]
SOURCE Bentley & More LLP