E-CIGARETTE ADDICTION & INJURY LAWSUIT UPDATE – Federal Cases Centralized in MDL in California

Categories: E-Cigarette Addiction & Injury Lawsuit

Recently, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) created a new MDL for federal lawsuits for individuals, including minors, who suffered addiction or other injury as a result of JUUL nicotine delivery products.  The lawsuits allege that Juul Labs, Inc (“JLI”) marketed its JUUL nicotine delivery products, including e-cigarettes, in a manner designed to attract minors, that JLI’s marketing misrepresents or omits that JUUL products are more potent and addictive than cigarettes, that JUUL products are defective and unreasonably dangerous due to their attractiveness to minors, and that JLI promotes nicotine addiction.

In the 10/2/19 order, the JPML ordered the transfer of the cases to the Northern District of California before the Honorable William H. Orrick III for coordinated pretrial proceedings. (An MDL is a type of legal proceeding that helps federal courts efficiently manage many similar cases filed in many different federal courts across the U.S. by allowing the temporary transfer of all of the federal civil lawsuits to one or more district courts for pretrial consolidation or coordination. The JPML is a group of federal judges designated by the Chief Justice of the United States, which has the responsibility for determining which cases qualify for MDL treatment, as well as which district court to transfer and consolidate these cases. The transfers are made if the Panel determines that the transfers will result in the convenience of the parties and witnesses and will promote the just and efficient conduct of the cases. For more information about MDLs and the JPML, contact Borgess Law.)

In September, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issuedwarning letter to JUUL Labs Inc. for marketing unauthorized modified risk tobacco products by engaging in labeling, advertising, and/or other activities directed to consumers, including a presentation given to youth at a school. As stated in the warning letter, the FDA has determined that JUUL has marketed its products as modified risk tobacco products without an appropriate FDA order in effect. JUUL’s labeling, advertising, and/or other activities directed to consumers represent, or would be reasonably expected to result in consumers believing, that the products 1) present a lower risk of tobacco-related disease or are less harmful than one or more other commercially marketed tobacco products; 2) contain a reduced level of a substance or present a reduced exposure to a substance; and/or 3) do not contain or are free of a substance or substances.  The agency also sent a letter to the company expressing concern, and requesting more information, about several issues raised in a recent Congressional hearing regarding JUUL’s outreach and marketing practices, including those targeted at students, tribes, health insurers and employers.

As stated by Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless, M.D.:

Regardless of where products like e-cigarettes fall on the continuum of tobacco product risk, the law is clear that, before marketing tobacco products for reduced risk, companies must demonstrate with scientific evidence that their specific product does in fact pose less risk or is less harmful. JUUL has ignored the law, and very concerningly, has made some of these statements in school to our nation’s youth. …In addition, we’re troubled about several issues related to JUUL’s outreach and marketing practices that came to light in a recent Congressional hearing. We will continue to scrutinize tobacco product marketing and take action as appropriate to ensure that the public is not misled into believing a certain product has been proven less risky or less harmful. We remain committed to using all available tools to ensure that e-cigarettes and other tobacco products aren’t being marketed or sold to kids. We’ve also put the industry on notice: If the disturbing rise in youth e-cigarette use continues, especially through the use of flavors that appeal to kids, we’ll take even more aggressive action.”

How We Can Help:

If you, your child, or someone you love suffered injury or addiction from Juul or other e-cigarette use, you should be aware of the ongoing litigation.

Attorney Pamela A. Borgess, the founder of Borgess Law, LLC, has extensive experience with numerous national high-profile defective consumer product cases and can discuss your legal options. For more information about the Juul litigation or to discuss a potential claim, contact Borgess Law at (567) 455-5955 or toll-free at (844) LAW-9144. You can also contact Borgess Law by submitting an online inquiry. Borgess Law never charges for initial consultations.  We welcome any questions you may have.