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As a growing number of personal injury and class action lawsuits continue to be filed over nicotine addictions linked to JUUL, a Master complaint has been filed against the manufacturer of the e-cigarettes, which is designed to allow future cases to be brought through a streamlined process.
Teens, parents, and a number of school districts nationwide have filed more than 300 JUUL Lawsuits in recent months, each raising similar allegations that the vape pens design and the manufacturer’s marketing strategy has resulted in widespread nicotine addiction problems among teens, which appears to be part of an intentional strategy to hook life-long users on their products.
Given similar questions of fact and law presented in claims filed throughout the federal court system, the lawsuits are now consolidated before U.S. District 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.
As more parents and young adults step forward to pursue claims after after becoming addicted to JUUL, it is widely expected that the size of the litigation will continue to grow over the coming months and years.
On March 11, plaintiffs filed a consolidated class action complaint (PDF) and master personal injury complaint, which outlined all of the allegations brought against the drug makers. The master complaint is approved, individual plaintiffs would then be permitted to file new JUUL cases through a “Short Form Complaint”, adopting applicable claims when initiating their case.
In complex product liability lawsuits, where large numbers of individuals are pursuing similar claims and allegations, it is common for the Court to approve a Master and Short Form complaint to simplify the process of filing new claims, and help the parties coordinate, categorize and evaluate the claims. Given the widespread JUUL addictions among teens and young adults, it is widely expected that the litigation may include tens of thousands of claims brought by individuals nationwide.
JUUL Teen Addiction Problems
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.
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 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.