With a growing number of JUUL e-cigarette related injuries and class action lawsuits being filed throughout the federal court system, Juul Labs, Inc. filed a motion to transfer with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) on July 29. The JPML heard arguments on the issue on Sept. 26. Juul Labs asked the panel of federal judges to consolidate and centralize the litigation in one court for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings.
The JPML issued the transfer order on Oct. 2, sending lawsuits alleging that Juul Labs marketed its vaping devices to teens and downplayed the risks of nicotine addiction to a California federal court. The panel rejected a proposal to create two multidistrict litigations (MDLs).
The JPML consolidated 10 suits. Five suits were originally filed in California federal court, with the others coming from Alabama, Florida, and New York. The JPML noted in the order that it has been informed of more than 40 suits that could be related. The lawsuits include both potential class actions and individual personal injury cases involving claims that embattled Juul Labs mislead consumers into thinking its product is less addictive than traditional cigarettes.
The suits include claims that Juul’s vaping products contain 20% more nicotine than the product labeling states. The consumers allege this false advertising and labeling influenced them to buy and use the products in the hopes of quitting smoking, but, in reality, the products gave them more nicotine than if they had continued smoking cigarettes.
The JPML assigned the MDL to U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick, who has been presiding over most of the California lawsuits. The MDL is in In Re: Juul Labs Inc., Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation (case number 2913) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
This story appears in the November 2019 issue of The Jere Beasley Report. For more like this, visit the Report online and subscribe.