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A number of lawyers pursuing lawsuits over JUUL addictions and injuries have applied for various leadership roles in the recently established federal multidistrict litigation (MDL), so that a small group of attorneys can coordinate certain actions during the consolidated pretrial proceedings that benefit all plaintiffs.
Dozens of product liability and class action lawsuits over JUUL have been filed in recent weeks, each raising similar allegations that the e-cigarette manufacturer marketed their product toward minors and prior non-smokers, while failing to warn that JUUL pods are more potent and addictive than traditional cigarettes.
As more parents and young adults step forward to pursue claims after becoming addicted to JUUL, it is widely expected that thousands of cases will be presented throughout the federal court system
On October 2, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation issued an order consolidating all JUUL lawsuits pending throughout the federal court system before Judge William H. Orrick III in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, which is where JUUL Labs, Inc.’s San Francisco headquarters are located.
On the same day, Judge Orrick issue a pretrial order (PDF), establishing how the cases would proceed, and calling for JUUL lawyers to apply for leadership positions.
Attorneys appointed to these various roles will take certain actions during the consolidated pretrial proceedings that benefit all plaintiffs, including arguing motions before the court, taking depositions, reviewing discovery documents and other actions. However, each plaintiff will still maintain their own lawyer to represent their specific interests in the claim against JUUL.
Applications were filed last week, and it is expected that Judge Orrick will announce the lawyers appointed either during or shortly after an initial status conference, which is scheduled for November 8.
JUUL Teen Addiction Concerns
Recent FDA data indicates teen e-cigarette use has reached epidemic levels in the United States, and JUUL Labs has been accused of fueling the growing teen nicotine addiction problems in the United States, through the design and marketing of their vape pen.
JUUL was intentionally designed to look like a USB thumb drive, which has made the product popular among teems who are able to hide their vaping habit from parents, teachers and other adults.
The manufacturer also marketed and sold JUUL in various candy-like flavors, which has resulted in a large number of teens and prior non-smokers starting to vape, and developing addictions to the high levels of nicotine contained in the pods.
A recent study indicated that e-cigarette advertising reaches 80% of middle and high school students in the U.S. Another study warns that vaping during adolescence quadruples a teen’s risk of becoming a cigarette tobacco smoker later.
On September 9, the FDA issued a warning letter to JUUL, indicating there was evidence it told school-aged children that its products were safer than cigarettes, which has not been proven.
In addition, federal and state health experts are investigating whether JUUL and other e-cigarettes are linked to hundreds of cases of respiratory illness, including nearly 30 deaths, as well as investigating whether JUUL is linked to nearly 130 cases of e-cigarette-related seizures.
In September, facing a criminal probe into its alleged marketing to children, JUUL suspended all advertising in the United States, and it’s CEO resigned.
As part of the consolidation into a MDL, all pretrial proceedings will be handled by Judge Orrick, but the cases will remain individual lawsuits. If settlements for JUUL nicotine addictions or another resolution is not reached during the pretrial proceedings, each case may eventually be transferred back to their originating districts for trial in the future.