LAWSUITS: An Igniting Controversy

An Igniting Controversy

Walk into John Andrews' Tampa law office with a disposable Bic lighter, and Andrews will truly dispose of it -- on the spot. Andrews is one of several attorneys who have brought a growing number of negligence suits against French-owned Bic since 1981, charging the firm with manufacturing a hazardous product.

Bic, the market leader in disposable lighters, claims to have sold 2 billion of the 79 cents throwaway items since 1973. According to the litigants, the lighter is an unstable fire bomb that can self-ignite in housecoat pockets and purses and on car dashboards. Bic accidents have allegedly claimed the...

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