LG Chemicals Wins Lawsuit in Ohio over E-Cigarette Battery Explosion

LG Chemicals Wins Lawsuit in Ohio over E-Cigarette Battery Explosion
LG Chem wins lawsuit over e-cigarette battery explosion, as judge rules they had no jurisdiction over the case.

LG Chem Ltd. has successfully defeated a lawsuit in Ohio over exploding batteries in electronic cigarettes. A federal judge ruled that he did not have jurisdiction over the case, as the company, although having contact with the state, was not related to the disputed product.

Judge James L. Graham of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio wrote on Wednesday that the Seoul-based company has done enough business in Ohio, but the issue is that the plaintiff, Paul Straight's claims are not related to this business.

Although the judge pointed out that there was a dispute in court regarding whether a claim for injury caused by "unauthorized, independent use" of e-cigarette devices with batteries was related to the transportation of non-e-cigarette device battery packs by LG Chemical, he said he did not need to make a judgment on this argument.

This puts plaintiffs in a weakened position," wrote Judge Graham in his 14-page opinion. "There is no direct or close relationship between LG Chem and Ohio's contact with the 18650 battery that caused the plaintiffs' injuries.

Straight claims in his lawsuit that the battery of his e-cigarette exploded, causing burns to his left thigh and causing his jeans to catch on fire. He alleges that he suffered second and third-degree burns to his thigh and left wrist, which have now left him limping.

He has filed a lawsuit against LG Chem and its American subsidiary. He has also sued Vapor Station LLC for selling him a battery from one of their stores, as well as the company that supplied the battery to the store. The claims include violations of implied warranties under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and Ohio state law.

LG Chemical maintains that it has not authorized any company to sell individual batteries. The judge pointed out that these batteries are meant for use in battery packs for power tools and other products.

Judge Graham has allowed for evidence collection to help resolve the jurisdictional dispute. LG Chem argues that it did not manufacture, sell, or distribute batteries in Ohio, while Straight maintains that the company's other business activities in the state are sufficient for the judge to exercise a specific jurisdiction.

The judge does not accept what is being said.

Judge Graham stated, "In fact, LG Chem has confirmed that it neither received revenue from the sale or distribution of 18650 batteries in Ohio, nor advertised or solicited business for 18650 batteries in Ohio.

Although the judge stated that Straight could not reject LG Chem's claim by testing for "association," he also rejected Straight's argument that it was unfair to dismiss the case because evidence showed that LG Chem knew the batteries were being used for vaping devices and posed a risk.

However, the lawsuit against another defendant is still under trial. Straight withdrew claims against Vapor Station and LG Chem's US subsidiary, but its claims against Picktown Vapor LLC for distributing batteries still remain.

A spokesperson for LG Energy Solutions, which is currently responsible for producing LG batteries, declined to comment on Thursday.

The lawyer for Straight did not immediately respond to a request for comment via email on Thursday.

This case has the docket number 2:20-cv-06551 and is being heard in the Southern District of Ohio court in the United States.


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