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Factbox: U.S. lawsuits take aim at vaping

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(Reuters) – Several deaths and doubtlessly a whole lot of sicknesses tied to e-cigarettes, which permit customers to inhale nicotine vapor, usually flavored, with out smoking, have been reported by U.S. well being company. Lawsuits on behalf of younger customers have been filed in opposition to e-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc and others are anticipated amid rising scrutiny.

FILE PHOTO: A person makes use of a vaping product within the Manhattan borough of New York, New York, U.S., September 17, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

The following is a abstract of how the litigation is taking part in out throughout the United States:

* Young grownup Juul customers and oldsters of teenage customers have filed dozens of lawsuits over vaping-related accidents in courts across the nation, together with each particular person lawsuits and sophistication actions. The lawsuits goal Juul, which markets a nicotine-vaping gadget and controls about 75% of the e-cigarette market. Some have additionally named Marlboro maker Altria Group Inc (MO.N), which has a minority stake in Juul, as a defendant.

* Most of the plaintiffs allege that customers grew to become hooked on Juul, however at least two lawsuits go additional. A Connecticut man alleges in a lawsuit filed in California state court docket that he suffered a large, debilitating stroke on account of Juul use, whereas the dad and mom of a teenage woman allege in a proposed class motion in Florida federal court docket that their daughter has suffered seizures linked to the gadget.

* One set of authorized claims within the circumstances focuses on fraudulent advertising. In these claims, plaintiffs accuse Juul of claiming its e-cigarettes are supposed to assist adults give up smoking cigarettes, whereas advertising them to minors and younger adults who’ve by no means used nicotine. They additionally say Juul has claimed its merchandise are a protected various to cigarettes, when the truth is they’ll ship increased doses of nicotine.

* Another set of claims focuses on product legal responsibility, alleging that Juul’s merchandise are defectively designed as a result of they’re inherently harmful, and that Juul didn’t warn in regards to the hazard or each.

* Juul mentioned in an announcement earlier this month that its merchandise are meant as a much less harmful various for adults who already smoke. “We have never marketed to youth and do not want any non-nicotine users to try our products,” the corporate mentioned.

* Altria has mentioned that the conduct alleged within the lawsuits occurred earlier than it acquired its monetary stake in Juul. “Our minority stake in Juul provides no basis for liability against Altria,” it mentioned in an announcement.

* More lawsuits are anticipated. Joseph VanZandt, a lawyer with the agency of Beasley Allen, mentioned his agency has been employed by greater than 200 purchasers for vaping-related claims, of whom at least eight have already filed lawsuits. “We fully expect that there will be hundreds if not thousands of individual cases filed,” he advised Reuters earlier this month.

* Lawsuits filed in federal court docket are prone to be consolidated in so-called multidistrict litigation earlier than a federal decide. Juul has moved to consolidate the lawsuits within the Northern District of California, which incorporates San Francisco. A federal judicial panel in Los Angeles is scheduled to listen to arguments on that movement Thursday. Separately, a movement has been filed in a Los Angeles state court docket to consolidate the California state court docket circumstances there.

* North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein in May sued Juul and has requested a state court docket to restrict the flavors of Juul e-cigarettes bought in North Carolina.

* Other state attorneys basic, together with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, are investigating Juul’s advertising practices.

Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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