Juul MDL Bellwether Latest Case Update: Juul Wants School Districts as Initial Representatives to the Bellwether Trials
Juul Labs has asked a federal judge to select two school districts as the first government entities to take part in a bellwether trial over the allegations against the company.
Government agencies will be the ones to participate first in the Juul bellwether trials, including school districts accounting for over 94% of the group, according to court documents by the e-cigarette company.
Juul argues that school districts are the most accountable of the government agencies participating and should be tried first.
Further, Juul proposes that the judge select a Tucson school district as the initial representative, stating that its smaller population size makes it an ideal starting point.
Moreover, Juul wants Kansas’s Unified School District (USD) 265 to go second because it is the only district that is not situated in a metropolitan area.
The company acknowledged that for the judge to rule over the case, it would have to renounce its rights to have the case tried in the district in where it was filed, which the company stated it is unwilling to do at the moment.
Four other school districts, including those in San Francisco, California, and Palm Beach, Florida, are being considered.
Judge OKs Class Action To Proceed
Plaintiffs in the Juul multidistrict litigation are basking on the recent legal victory handed over to them by a California judge, which allows them to continue on with the case in court, leading to the legal proceedings still pushing through.
This latest development comes after the judge hearing the case shot down the botched attempt of one of the defendants in the Juul multidistrict litigation (MDL) to leave them out in the court proceedings.
Multidistrict litigations are a result of multiple individual yet similar lawsuits ending up being consolidated and transferred to a single federal court for processing.
This usually happens in cases involving complex legal matters and is one of the unique features of the United States’ legal system.
Juul Partner Company Loses Out
Altria, a part-owner of Juul, has first asked the court to free them from any legal responsibility in the case, arguing that they didn’t have a role in the allegations thrown at Juul.
They contended in their court manifestation that they didn’t have an active hand in the tobacco marketing campaign done by Juul supposedly aimed at a very young and impressionable demographic consisting mostly of teenagers.
However, United States District Court Judge William H. Orrick disagreed with Altria’s arguments.
In his decision, he dismissed Altria’s wishes to not include them in the legal proceedings-arguing that they illegally enriched themselves at the expense of a lot of American youth ending up getting addicted to their partner company’s nicotine-laced tobacco products.
Additionally, he agreed that the plaintiffs have successfully backed up their allegations that Juul and Altria were violating the provisions of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act.
Judge Orrick also allowed the continued inclusion of the two companies’ investors and individual sitting board members in the Juul MDL, for he believed that they participated in the companies’ illegal marketing practices.
In addition to that, Altria’s top executive Billy F. Gifford was also not spared from the ongoing legal proceedings as a sitting magistrate approved the complainants’ motion of including him in the case.
Yet, some of the plaintiffs’ claims were tossed out of the window because of the non-presence of members in the proposed Class.
The Juul MDL Simplified
The Juul MDL is a result of multiple complaints filed in different federal courts across the whole country, all accusing the electronic cigarette company of harming the members of the American youth by engaging in marketing activities and practices.
These class action lawsuits argued that Juul used very trendy and flashy imagery in order to lure in the young to use their nicotine-laced tobacco products.
Not only that, but the ongoing Juul MDL also accuses Juul of not properly disclosing the actual amount of nicotine contained in their products, such as vapes and e-cigarettes (electronic cigarettes).
It is reported that they actually contain 20% more nicotine than what Juul advertises in their claims.
Oblivious consumers, mostly teenagers and young adults, ended up being exposed to more harmful amounts of nicotine after they believed in Juul’s deceptive and misleading claims of its products are a much safer alternative to traditional tobacco.
Juul Allegedly Contributes to Mental Health
More plaintiffs, including minors, adults, and school districts, are joining the Juul multi-district litigation. Recently, one minor filed a complaint stating that the company’s products contributed to their development of behavioral, mental health, as well as cognitive problems.
The minor plaintiff claimed they became addicted to Juul vapes and suffered from aggression, rages, insomnia, and difficulty concentrating. It also caused headaches, nausea, vomiting, and stomach aches, according to the complaint.
Another plaintiff claimed the Juul product induced mood swings and suicidal thoughts.
The Holy Hill Area School District filed a complaint against Juul, alleging the company and its partners market and sell its products to minors actively.
The Tuscaloosa Intermediate School District has filed a complaint against Juul, claiming the corporation targets children and young adults to sell vaping goods.
About the company
Juul or Juul Labs, Inc. is an electronic cigarette company that was founded as a spinoff from Pax Labs almost four years ago.
Co-founded by Bowen and James Monsees, the company is currently headed by its top executive K.C. Crosthwaite and calls San Francisco its company headquarters.
The company made a reported revenue of $2 billion in 2018.
Editor’s Note on Juul MDL:
This feature aims to inform you of the latest developments in the Juul MDL filed in a California federal court. Plaintiffs have enjoyed another success as a judge gave its seal of approval in allowing the case to push through.
Case Name(s) & No.(s): In re: Juul Labs Inc. Marketing, Sales and Products Liability Litigation; Case No.: 3:19-md-02913
Jurisdiction: United States District Court for the Northern District of California
Products/Services Involved: Juul e-cigarettes and other nicotine products
Allegation(s): Juul has done deceptive marketing of its products towards young Americans
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