LG Optimus F6
Mid-range phones from LG YouTube, PhoneDog

A New York resident is suing Korean electronics manufacturer LG in a federal court in Brooklyn after an LG Optimus F6 phone exploded in his pants pocket resulting in second and third-degree burns on his hand and right leg. The man had been using the phone for a couple of months but it had never given any major issues.

Muhammad Sattar, who worked for a Manhattan investment bank, had to be rushed to Weill Cornell Medical Center on 13 January 2016 after the explosion. The burns damaged his skin to such extent that Sattar had to receive skin grafts as well.

"It was just in his pocket, sitting there, and it blew up," said his attorney Lawrence Gold­hirsch. He said Sattar was also bringing in the lawsuit as he had to miss work for at least a month because of the injuries.

The Optimus F6 was launched in the US on 11 September 2013 and consists of a removable Lithium-ion (Li-Ion) 2460 mAh battery. While it is not known as to why the phone exploded, the most common speculation is that the battery may have overheated. In the past, several Nokia phones have exploded in China, India and South Africa resulting in serious injuries and even a death.

Li-Ion batteries have been a recent cause of concern for safety analysts who say it possesses the risk of catching fire or in extreme cases exploding. Just recently in February, the International Civil Aviation Organization prohibited cargo shipments of Li-Ion batteries on passenger aircraft over concerns by pilots and plane-makers. The same batteries have been the cause of many hoverboard explosions in the recent past.

Li-Ion batteries, which are rechargeable, can still be transported on cargo planes as industry experts believe Li-Ion cells with cobalt cathodes, which are mostly used in cell phones, can rarely cause an accident due to the protective layers around them. However, there is no 100% guarantee on them.