JUUL Labs Inc. and Altria Group Inc.’s pleas to U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick to drop the public nuisance and negligence claims by consumers and government entities who blame the two for creating a youth vaping epidemic failed to sway the judge, Law360 reports.
The claims in the growing multidistrict litigation (MDL), consolidated in California federal court in October 2019, will stand. However, Judge Orrick did toss civil racketeering claims against the companies and asked plaintiffs to better clarify how JUUL and Altria engaged in illegal activity to justify their accusation of such.
In his ruling on the public nuisance issue, Judge Orrick drew parallels with the opioid epidemic. Hundreds of states, local governments and Native American tribes have filed lawsuits against opioid manufacturers and distributors accusing them of being a public nuisance for creating and fueling a national opioid epidemic.
Judge Orrick found that JUUL’s marketing of fruit-flavored e-liquids and use of social media influencers popular with youth to market its vapes “created and maintained an illicit youth market of school-age youth addicted to nicotine, causing extreme disruption in classrooms and unique harm to schools.”
“The public nuisance claims alleged here are not novel as [JUUL] characterizes them to be’ similar claims have been alleged in numerous opioid and gun manufacturer cases,” Judge Orrick said.
Beasley Allen lawyers Joseph VanZandt, Sydney Everett, James Lampkin, Beau Darley, Soo Seok Yang, and Mass Torts Section Head Andy Birchfield, are currently representing a number of individuals who are suing the top U.S. vape maker JUUL for the negative impact its products have had on their lives. These lawyers currently make up our firm’s JUUL Litigation Team. Lawsuits have also been filed on behalf of school districts and public entities across the country , which seek to protect students and recover resources spent fighting the vaping epidemic. If you have a potential claim or need more information on JUUL, contact any the lawyers on the team.