RIVERSIDE, Calif. — A California woman badly burned by an exploding electronic cigarette was awarded nearly $2 million Wednesday by a jury in a product liability suit, her lawyer said.
Jennifer Ries of Corona was on her way to the airport in March 2013 when she plugged in her VapCigs e-cigarette charger and it spewed hot metal that ignited her dress, attorney Gregory Bentley said.
Her husband, Xavier Ries, tossed an iced coffee on her to extinguish the flames, but she was scarred for life by second-degree burns on her buttocks, thighs and hand, according to the lawsuit.
The couple missed their flight to Brazil, where they had planned to help build a community center for children in the slums of Rio de Janeiro, and Jennifer Ries ended up at an urgent care facility and a burn clinic the following day.
After a six-day trial, a Riverside Superior Court jury awarded $1.9 million to Jennifer Ries in the lawsuit against VapCigs, which distributes the Chinese-made e-cigarette and charger, wholesaler Cartons 2 Go and retailer Tobacco Expo, Bentley said.
Lawyers for the defendants did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment
“If you’re going to place a product in the marketplace, you have to make sure it’s safe for the consumer,” Bentley said. “If you don’t, you’re at your own peril.”
Ries stopped vaping after the incident, said Joe Marchelewski, a spokesman for Bentley’s firm.