E-cigarette malfunctions prompt product liability lawsuits


For a number of reasons, e-cigarettes – also known as vapes or vape pens – have become popular in recent years. For some users, e-cigarettes are a lifestyle choice; others consider them a useful tool for quitting smoking. But whether used as a quitting aid or a fashion statement, e-cigarettes pose risks to users. Besides the dangers associated with inhaling a foreign substance, users can suffer injuries from exploding batteries or fires started by batteries. In both cases, a product liability lawyer may be able to advise you on your potential path to compensation.

The rise of e-cigarette use has corresponded with an influx of e-cigarette-related lawsuits. In 2017, more than 120 lawsuits were filed in the United States by people who were injured from e-cigarette battery malfunctions. The phenomenon hit Canada as well: a Calgary man suffered third degree burns when a battery exploded in his pocket in February, and a New Brunswick man suffered similar injuries in March.

In Canada, regulating and ensuring the safety of e-cigarettes has been a challenge.

“There is no specific federal legislation for e-cigarettes in Canada,” University of Waterloo professor of public health David Hammond told Global News. “Let’s be clear: it’s a very small number of devices [exploding/causing fire], but it is a dramatic example of the need for product standards … having some basic rules about how those are designed.”

The injuries caused by exploding e-cigarette batteries can be severe. Per Courthouse News:

“At least 8 plaintiffs in 2017 filed lawsuits claiming electronic cigarettes exploded in their mouth, with some saying the blast knocked out teeth and caused third-degree burns. Dozens of other claimants allege they were scorched around their legs or groin when vaporizer batteries they were carrying in their pocket caught fire.”

If you have been injured by an exploding e-cigarette battery, contact a product liability lawyer to discuss your case. Product liability lawsuits allege one of three causes for a product’s malfunction: defects in design, wherein a product is dangerous even when manufactured and used as intended; manufacturing defects, where a product is designed well but rendered dangerous by an error during assembly; and defects in warning, wherein the company that produced the product fails to adequately warn consumers of the risks associated with its use.

For more information on product liability lawsuits in general, or to discuss the viability of your product liability claim, contact a product liability lawyer at Will Davidson LLP to find out how our team can help.


Image credit: Lindsay Fox/Wikimedia Commons

Will marijuana legalization lead to a surge in product liability lawsuits

Legal recreational marijuana is looming in Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has urged nationwide legalization by summer 2018, though the provinces have expressed varying degrees of doubt in their ability to hit that mark. In the meantime, legal experts including Ontario personal injury and product liability lawyers are preparing for what may be a “wild west” legal landscape.

Product liability claims are a very real potential outcome of marijuana’s impending legalization. In fact, one class action lawsuit has already materialized in New Brunswick. According to Global News, roughly 2,000 individuals purchased cannabis products containing two banned pesticides – myclobutanil and bifenazate – from Organigram Inc. in Moncton last year. The product liability lawyers that launched the claim allege that both chemicals are toxic and could result in serious health effects.

On the west coast this August, Broken Coast Cannabis Ltd., a medical marijuana producer based on Vancouver Island, issued a recall for three batches of dried cannabis produced and sold in 2016 after Health Canada spot checks revealed – once again – two banned pesticides. Though none of Broken Coast’s patients came forward to report an illness, the event highlights the potential for legal action stemming from improper production of legal marijuana.

“From a patient’s perspective, it’s concerning if there’s any unauthorized substances found in cannabis. Patients are using this as a medicine so it needs to be safe and reliable,” Jonathan Zaid, head of Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana, told the Globe and Mail.

“At the same time,” he added, “it is good to see that the recalls can happen because it shows accountability within the system. But, obviously, we’d like to see it happen much sooner so that patients haven’t already consumed product and that testing is done on a much more pro-active basis.”

Speaking with The Lawyer’s Daily for an August 31 article, a number of product liability lawyers emphasized that marijuana producers will be held to the same standard as other products.

“If you sell tainted meat … there will be a class action, so it’s no different from tainted marijuana. It’s no different than beef … or any product,” said Windsor’s Harvey Strosberg. “The law is the same for any ingestible product. If it’s not constructed or grown properly or harvested properly or packaged properly, there can be a class action.”

If you or a member of your family has been injured by a faulty or defective product of any kind, feel free to contact Will Davidson LLP’s product liability lawyers to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation.


Image credit: O’Dea/Wikimedia Commons

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Class actions vs. Mass Tort Litigation

judge gavelThere are many reasons why class actions may commence. The basic reason is that a group of people have all been harmed in a similar way. This could be, but not necessarily,  as a result of product, company, or environmental issues. All of these may require a class action or mass tort litigation for those impacted to receive compensation.


When a person purchases something, whether for medical reasons or simply “just because”, there is a certain trust we as consumers have that the product will not be defective. On many occasions, a defective product is not the end of the world. One may simply need to call the company and request a new product. On the other hand, there are times when a defective product can cause serious health, economic and psychological issues, in which the consumer deserves compensation accordingly, which is when a class action or mass tort litigation action may be necessary. A class action or mass tort litigation action can arise when it is not only one consumer that has been impacted by the defective product.

One of Will Davidson’s defective product experiences is with allegedly defective pelvic mesh devices, where hundreds of plaintiffs have come forward with claims. Will Davidson had to decide the best way to proceed for their clients and the claimants of this action. Therefore, the following is an important question: What is the difference between a class action and mass tort litigation?

In class actions, the plaintiffs involved need to fall under a strict “commonality” requirement, amongst other things. Remember that class actions are tried together-as one. An example of the consequences of this, is the following: When a settlement is paid out, it is split between the parties. Therefore, you may not get as much as you feel fair in class actions. In class actions, all plaintiffs are in it together and there are many restrictions and court proceedings that need to be followed to ensure a proper class action. Despite the complications, certification, which is the ability to begin a class action, is a lot less difficult in Canada than it is in the States. This is a positive reason to proceed under this umbrella.

Mass Tort Litigation: Mass tort litigation allows for individuality. The commonality requirement is not there as it is in class actions. Defective products, although they might injure many people, may not cause the exact injury and therefore, a commonality requirement is difficult to satisfy. This is one of the positive reasons why one should proceed under mass tort litigation.

In the end, individual circumstances are the deciding factor as to whether a case proceeds in a class action or individually with mass tort litigation. As courts get more and more comfortable with these types of cases, either the class action route or the mass tort litigation route, may come out as the winner. Despite the “newness” of these types of class action legal proceedings in Canada, do not be afraid to take on who you need to, to get the compensation you deserve! If you have sustained personal injury from a defective product, do not hesitate to contact our personal injury law firm to find out about your legal rights.

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    Beware: Social Media and the Courtroom

    Social Media can be a Plaintiff’s Enemy

    Facebook has taken over the globe in unimaginable proportions. Many people use Facebook daily, especially for posting photographs of fun nights out with friends and family vacations. Privacy settings can be set quite high; however it is important to know there might always be a way around privacy settings. As an injured party, Facebook and other social media websites may become your enemy.

    When you are involved in an accident, personal injury has been sustained, and a law suit has commenced, it is important to take into consideration that surveillance may be placed upon you. Another consideration to be made is that, after an accident, the opposing side may very well do investigating by way of social media sites too. When you have suffered personal injury from an accident, be sure to take extra precaution of what you are posting on these websites, because any inconsistencies between what you are saying and what is being shown, may be brought to light, despite those photographs not actually depicting the true extent of your pain from your accident injury that you may have most of the time.

    Counsel has not been afraid to use Facebook and other social media cases for credibility issues during questioning and in Court for people who are claiming pain and suffering from injuries sustained in an accident.  In the Ontario Superior Court of Justice case, Kourtesis v. Joris, a young woman’s photograph postings led to her claim for damages for pain and suffering to be dismissed. The young woman claimed her social life had been ruined by the accident and subsequent injuries; however Facebook photographs depicted her out partying with friends. This led to the demise of her “ruined social life” claim and in the end, undermined her claim to have suffered other problems from the accident.

    Despite irrelevant searches being looked down upon, Courts have tended to find that photographs relevant to accident injury claims on social media sites should be disclosed. For instance, if you manage to climb the tallest mountain, this should be made known. Lying and hiding those facts, even if you do have legitimate injuries, could lead to your case failing in every way. If you are on social media websites, be careful as to what you post, even if you are not part of a law suit. You never know how people may gain access to your profiles and nothing is off limits if it is relevant to your case. Always tell the truth and admit, for example, if your injuries from an accident do not cause you constant limitations and pain.

    If you have sustained personal injury from an accident, do not hesitate to contact our personal injury law firm to find out about your legal rights.


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      Have you taken ZXT Gold Bee Pollen Capsules by Floyd Nutrition? Be Careful.

      Health Canada Warning: Floyd Nutrition Bee Pollen Capsules

      Warning: Bee Pollen Capsules contain hidden pharmaceutical ingredients (sibutramine and phenolphthalein) and health Canada has requested the Canadian distributor associated with the website www.floydnutrition.com to immediately stop sale and advertising of this product, and to remove these products from the Canadian market.

      Health Canada testing has identified that the weight loss product “ZXT Gold” bee pollen capsules contain hidden pharmaceutical ingredients (sibutramine and phenolphthalein), which may pose serious health risks. The product is distributed by the company Floyd Nutrition LLC via its website,  www.floydnutrition.com.

      Health Canada noted to be aware that this product has been found to contain hidden pharmaceutical drugs that may pose a dangerous health risks.

      If you have taken this drug and you have suffered injury please report it to Health Canada immediately.

      The problem with this product:

      “ZXT Gold” bee pollen capsules are not authorized in Canada and have not been evaluated by Health Canada for safety, effectiveness, and quality. Health products that have been authorized for sale by Health Canada will have an eight-digit Drug Identification Number (DIN), a Homeopathic Medicine Number (DIN-HM) or a Natural Product Number (NPN) on the label. Some natural health products may have an Exemption Number (EN), which indicates that the product is legally available for sale while Health Canada is reviewing its application for licensing.

      Sibutramine was previously used to treat obesity but is no longer authorized for sale in Canada because of its association with an increased risk of cardiovascular side effects such as heart attack and stroke. In addition to heart attack and stroke, side-effects associated with sibutramine include increased blood pressure and heart rate, dry mouth, difficulty sleeping and constipation.

      Phenolphthalein was previously used as a laxative but is no longer authorized for sale in Canada because it may cause cancer. Additional side-effects associated with phenolphthalein include decreased blood pressure, skin rash and gastrointestinal bleeding.

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