Consumers in the federal multidistrict litigation over vaping say that federal law does not broadly bar their claims that Juul Labs Inc. and Altria Group Inc. hid the dangers of e-cigarettes, saying that was not what Congress intended.
Furthermore, they said that when Congress gave the US Food and Drug Administration authority over tobacco products, it was aware of the potential for private litigation under state law. Especially due to the long-time fraud of the tobacco industry that was exposed in courtrooms through suits brought by private and state plaintiffs.
“Cognizant of that history, Congress chose not to remain silent and leave it to the courts to identify and police the limits of traditional state authority in the areas newly subject to federal regulation,” that consumers said. “Instead, Congress wrote what may be the most detailed and carefully crafted preemption provision in the U.S. Code, with a thumb firmly on the scale against preemption.”
Consumers in the MDL claim Juul and Altria deceptively pushed e-cigarettes as a way to help people stop smoking. However, the devices were truly intended as a new delivery vehicle for nicotine addiction that raked in profits for the companies.
Last week, Juul and Altria asked the court to throw out claims from seven government entities, saying they have failed to link their public nuisance claims to anything the companies have done.
A representative for Altria declined to comment. Representatives for the other parties did not immediately respond to requests for comment.