The complaint alleges the e-cigarette company and Altria Group knowingly withheld information from consumers, specifically teenage users, about the addictive nature of JUULs.
A federal class action suit has accused electronic-cigarette manufacturer JUUL Labs Inc. of illegally underplaying the dangers of its product to expand its appeal among underage users.
The lawsuit was filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida and names JUUL as a defendant alongside its parent company Altria Group Inc. and Philip Morris USA Inc., a separate subsidiary under the Altria umbrella. The complaint was brought by the parents of a 15 year-old Sarasota girl, who purportedly became addicted to nicotine through JUUL usage. The plaintiffs list seven causes for action against the defendants, including fraud and deceptive trade practices.
Media representatives with JUUL and Altria did not respond to emailed and telephoned requests for comment by press time.
Jonathan Gdanski, an attorney with Fort Lauderdale law firm Schlesinger Law Offices, is representing the plaintiffs. The lawyer said his clients filed their suit as a putative class action on behalf other children and parents facing similar circumstances. He cites a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistic showing nearly 5 million middle and high school students were current users of a tobacco product in 2018. Gdanski claims that number has grown in recent years, in large part due to the proliferation of JUUls among younger consumers, “creating an entire new generation of nicotine addiction” in the process.
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