The creators behind Juul, one of the most popular vaping devices in the world, are facing claims in ongoing Juul lawsuits that they made and marketed a product that was misleadingly presented as safer than traditional cigarettes and ultimately contributed to the overwhelming rise in youth vaping seen in the past few years.
Juul Labs Inc. says cases from school districts in Arizona and Kansas should be the first two bellwether trials in the multidistrict litigation (MDL) as they are representative of the massive pool of lawsuits they are facing.
The Tuscon, Arizona school district is the smallest of three districts under consideration for the initial bellwether trial. The two sides of the litigation agree that the smaller the school district, the more representative the bellwether will be to inform how the majority of these cases may be resolved.
A school district in Kansas, the only district not located in a metropolitan area and the only midwestern district, is wanted by Juul as the second bellwether trial, but defendants would have to waive their rights to have the case tried in the district where it was filed. That may sway the judge to not include it as the second bellwether, and as a result the district may be selected as the third bellwether case instead.
This is the latest update in the massive lawsuit against Juul, which claims that the e-cigarette company and its executives created a product which contained high amounts of nicotine and marketed the device to teens and young adults.
Plaintiffs say Juul failed to warn consumers that its products were highly addictive and that the company falsely claimed in ads and labels that its pre-filled pods contained 5% nicotine, the same amount in a pack of cigarettes, when the pods actually contained much higher levels. Plaintiffs also say Juul fraudulently marketed its vaping products as a “safer alternative” to traditional cigarettes. The higher nicotine content is said to lead to higher addiction rates and in turn, higher profits for the company.