JUUL Vaping Addiction Lawsuit Cleared For Trial To Begin Next Month

The first JUUL vaping addition lawsuit scheduled for trial has survived a partial summary judgment motion, which sought to dismiss fraud and failure to warn claims.

The U.S. District Judge presiding over all federal JUUL lawsuits has rejected a motion for summary judgment, clearing the way for a teen vaping addiction claim to go before a jury next month.

JUUL labs faces more than 3,300 product liability lawsuits brought by families nationwide, each raising similar allegations that the company has engaged in a coordinated effort to market their popular e-cigarettes toward teens and prior non-smokers, to create a new generation of customers with a life-long nicotine addictions.

Given common questions of fact and law raised in complaints brought throughout the federal court system, the JUUL litigation is currently centralized before U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick III in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings.

Early in the proceedings, Judge Orrick acknowledged the serious public health questions raised by the JUUL vaping addiction lawsuits and established an aggressive “bellwether” process, where a small group of six personal injury cases have prepared for early trial dates, which are designed to help the parties gauge how juries are likely to respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout the litigation.

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In an order (PDF) issued April 29, Judge Orrick denied JUUL Labs, Inc.’s motion for partial summary judgment in a lawsuit brought by Robin Bain, on behalf of herself and her minor child, identified only as B.B., who developed a JUUL vaping addiction, leading to respiratory problems such as asthma, bronchitis and shortness of breath.

JUUL sought to have fraud and failure to warn claims raised in the complaint dismissed, arguing that the child could not identify a specific advertisement that led her to start using JUUL products; an argument which Judge Orrick dismissed.

“In her declaration submitted with her opposition, B.B. provides further details on the types of advertisements and marketing materials to which she was exposed prior to her first use and where she was exposed to those materials,” Judge Orrick stated in his ruling. “She also provides examples of the JUUL counter-displays she saw at stores, often located next to the cash registers.”

The decision means the case is cleared to proceed to trial, and is expected to be the first JUUL vaping addiction lawsuit to be considered by a jury. A pretrial conference is set for May 9, with jury selection in the case slated to begin on June 16.

JUUL Nicotine Addiction Concerns

JUUL pods were just introduced in 2015, and quickly became the most popular form of nicotine exposure among teens and young adults in the United States.

Marketing efforts by the manufacturer have been blamed for fueling the teen vaping epidemic in the U.S., which has caused widespread disruption in schools, additional costs for local municipalities and left young adults addicted to high levels of nicotine in each JUUL pod, often leading to smoking and long-term health concerns.

The JUUL vape pens were designed to look like USB drives, allowing teens to hide their vaping habit from parents and school officials. The pods were also sold in a variety of candy-like flavors intended to appeal to prior non-smokers, and the manufacturer targeted teens through social media and other efforts that failed to disclose the high levels of nicotine, which may cause life-long addiction problems.

While the outcomes of these early bellwether trials will not be binding on other claims pending in the federal court system, they will be closely watched and may greatly influence any JUUL settlements offered by the manufacturer to avoid the need for hundreds of individual trial dates to be scheduled in different U.S. District Courts nationwide in the coming years.


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