Hawkins Parnell Obtains Outright Dismissal of E-Cigarette Case in Northern California
March 8, 2022 (Oakland, CA) – Hawkins Parnell & Young senior partner Ed Ulloa, along with partners Macy Chan and Fred Lee of the Los Angeles office, secured an outright dismissal on behalf of a lithium-ion battery manufacturer client in a case alleging burn injuries related to an e-cigarette battery that allegedly exploded in the plaintiff’s pocket. Judge Jeffrey S. White of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted the client’s motion to dismiss outright based on a lack of personal jurisdiction.
Plaintiff Rocky Tran alleged he was injured when the lithium-ion battery he purchased from a third-party retailer exploded in his pocket. Hawkins Parnell drafted a motion to dismiss, asserting that there was no personal jurisdiction over the client as they were joined as a sham defendant in an effort to defeat diversity. The court adopted Hawkins Parnell's position that plaintiff lacked any evidence to show that the client placed any lithium-ion batteries in the stream of commerce, and that the client met the “clear and convincing evidence” standard in showing that they had no involvement in bringing these batteries into the California market. The court also declined to remand the matter or allow Plaintiff leave to amend the complaint.
The ruling represents a significant successful jurisdictional challenge on behalf of an international technology client and underscores the breadth of Hawkins Parnell’s ability to provide a comprehensive and effective defense in all manner of products liability matters.