Man injured in Grand Central e-cigarette explosion filing lawsuit

MIDTOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- A wine store employee who was seriously injured in an e-cigarette explosion is filing a lawsuit against the manufacturer.

Otis Gooding was working at Grand Central Terminal last year when the device caught fire in his pants.

On Wednesday Gooding's attorney, Sanford Rubenstein, announced they have filed suit in Brooklyn Supreme Court seeking damages from the China and South Korea manufacturers of the cigarettes.

A Canal Street store that sold Gooding the batteries is also named in the suit.

"I had second-degree burns on my hands and third-degree burns on my legs," said Gooding. "It was 12 days in the hospital with 51 staples. And even coming out of the hospital, it was a slow process to move around."

Gooding, 31, was working inside Central Cellars when the e-cigarette caught fire in his pocket around 9:50 a.m.

He suffered severe burns to his hand and leg in the incident, which was caught on surveillance camera.

EMBED More News Videos

Surveillance video shows an e-cigarette explode inside a man's pocket in a store in Grand Central Terminal. Video courtesy of Central Cellars.

Gooding's injuries required a skin graft. He hasn't picked up an e-cigarette since that grisly day and tries to avoid watching the video.

"There's a real problem with the issue of e-cigarettes exploding," said Rubinstein. "There have been 97 cases of exploding e-cigarettes since '09. The Food and Drug Administration needs to take action, there's a danger to the public here."

This photo taken by co-worker John Lee shows the aftermath of the explosion:

Rubinstein insists there is a bigger issue at stake than getting his client money.

"A jury will decide damages in this case," he said. "What's important to Otis is that the public be aware of the dangers of e-cigarettes so that tragedies like this one don't occur in the future."

In published reports, the owner of the Canal Street shop that sold Gooding the batteries says he did not sell faulty batteries, and that it was the way Gooding was storing the batteries that caused them to ignite.
Copyright © 2019 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.