Bentley & More LLP: Court denies electronics giant Samsung SDI’s attempt to dismiss punitive damages in e-cigarette explosion lawsuit per your instructions.
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 the ruling at issue here, the Court denied Samsung’s attempt to summarily dismiss the case, and found triable issues of fact as to both Samsung’s liability for the explosion, and Samsung’s culpability for punitive damages, which are designed to punish and deter manufacturers from knowingly distributing harmful, dangerous products.
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