ATLANTA — An 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 15 rejected R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.'s appeal challenging a $2,125,000 million compensatory damages verdict for a smoker's widow and granted the widow's cross-appeal by remanding the case for a trial on punitive damages (Mary Sowers v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, et al., No. 18-11901, 11th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 29237).
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in California on Sept. 11 granted in part and denied in part e-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc.'s motion to dismiss an ex-employee's whistleblower complaint against it and to strike parts of her complaint, finding that while most of her allegations failed to state a claim, she presented an argument that Juul violated California law by offering her pay after termination if she waived her right to bring certain claims against the company (Marcie Hamilton v. Juul Labs Inc., No. 20-3710, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 166718).
CHICAGO — The Illinois attorney general on Sept. 10 filed a complaint in state court accusing California-based e-liquids manufacturer Juice Man LLC of violating state law by using youth-oriented marketing, selling fruit- and candy-flavored e-liquids and mislabeling nicotine content on certain e-liquid products (The People of the State of Illinois v. Juice Man, LLC, No. 20 CH 5812, Ill. Cir., Cook Co.).
SAN FRANCISCO — The California federal judge overseeing the pending multidistrict litigation against e-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc. on Sept. 9 ordered that the first bellwether personal injury trial in the MDL will begin in February 2022 with four more slated to start later that year (In Re: Juul Labs, Inc., Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2913, No. 19-md-2913, N.D. Calif.).
TORONTO — E-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc. and its affiliate Juul Labs Canada Ltd. on Aug. 5 filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in Canadian Federal Court against three individuals and two companies in Quebec that it alleges are illegally purchasing and importing Juul products, including those with flavors and high nicotine content, and then reselling or exporting the products in regions where those specific types of Juul products are unavailable or prohibited, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia (Juul Labs, Inc., et al. v. 2970201 Canada Inc., et al., No. T-867-20, Canada Fed.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A shareholder of Altria Group Inc. filed a shareholder derivative action on Aug. 27 in California federal court accusing the tobacco company's executives, e-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc. and Juul executives of harming Altria shareholders due to an estimated $50 billion in market capitalization losses that allegedly were caused by Altria's $12.8 billion investment in Juul (Maria Cecilia Lorca, derivatively on behalf of Altria Group Inc. v. William F. Gifford, Jr., et al., No. 20-6041, N.D. Calif.).
SEATTLE — The attorney general of the state of Washington on Sept. 2 filed a consumer protection lawsuit in the state's King County Superior Court against e-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc. and its prior parent company, Pax Labs Inc., alleging that they should face fines of $5,000 per violation for "hundreds of thousands" of unlicensed e-cigarette product sales into the state during a nearly two-year period and accusing the company of illegally marketing to youth and deceptively concealing the addictiveness of its products (Washington v. Juul Labs, Inc., et al., No. 20-2-13366-3, Wash. Super., King Co.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Cigar and pipe tobacco industry associations challenging tobacco regulations on Sept. 7 submitted a joint status report with government agency defendants to a District of Columbia federal court regarding claims that remain pending after the court on Sept. 2 declined to stop the Food and Drug Administration from enforcing premarket tobacco application (PMTA) deadlines against newly deemed cigar and pipe tobacco products (Cigar Association of America, et al. v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, et al., No. 16-1460, D. D.C., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159947).
MINNEAPOLIS — A group of tobacco companies and retailers on Sept. 3 filed a notice of appeal to the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals of a federal judge in Minnesota's Aug. 31 order dismissing their challenge to a Minnesota city's ban on flavored tobacco (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, et al. v. Edina, et al., No. 20-1402, D. Minn.).
SEATTLE — The attorney general of the state of Washington in an Aug. 13 lawsuit asks the state's King County Superior Court to impose civil penalties on a California e-liquids retailer that allegedly sold vape products online to customers in Washington state without a license and without verifying customers' ages as required by state law (Washington v. E-Juice Vapor, Inc., No. 20-2-12563-6, Wash. Sup., King Co.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A group of small vapor product manufacturers, retailers and trade associations on Aug. 24 submitted a citizen petition to the Food and Drug Administration asking it to seek a six-month extension to the forthcoming Sept. 9 deadline for premarket tobacco applications (PMTAs) for smaller vape companies because meeting the deadline has become "impossible" due to novel coronavirus-related delays; they say that without an extension, "thousands of employees" will be laid off and many businesses will be closed (Citizen Petition for Extension Of Premarket Tobacco Product Application Filing Deadline Due To The COVID-19 Pandemic, FDA-2020-P-1797, FDA).
Over the past month, e-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc. has filed at least 10 trademark infringement lawsuits against business owners and stores in several states that they allege are selling counterfeit and gray-market e-cigarette products misrepresented as authentic Juul products or as products intended for domestic sale in the United States (Juul Labs Inc. v. Madison Food Mart Inc., No. 20-cv-1175, N.D. Ala.; Juul Labs Inc. v. Mohammed Olabi, et al., No. 20-cv-1234, D. Conn.; Juul Labs Inc. v. Jubilee Smoke & Vape Inc., et al., No. 20-cv-6453, S.D. N.Y.; Juul Labs Inc. v. 5 Borough Market II Corp., No. 20-cv-3799, E.D. N.Y.; Juul Labs, Inc. v. Salam Murshed, No. 20-cv-868, D. N.H.; Juul Labs Inc. v. Express Novelty Inc., No. 20-cv-2602, W.D. Tenn.; Juul Labs Inc. v. Gladys Smoke Shop Inc., No. 20-cv-353, E.D. Texas; Juul Labs Inc. v. LMD Ventures Inc., No. 20-cv-984, W.D. Texas; Juul Labs Inc. v. Goody & Sons Inc., No. 20-cv-2164, N.D. Texas; Juul Labs Inc. v. Surya Maya LLC, No. 20-cv-949, N.D. Texas).
CONCORD, N.H. — E-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc. filed a complaint on Aug. 14 in New Hampshire federal court claiming that the owner of two tobacco shops is selling counterfeit and gray-market Juul products in violation of federal trademark infringement statutes and the state's deceptive trade practices laws despite having received cease-and-desist letters from Juul (Juul Labs, Inc. v. Salam Murshed, No. 20-868, D. N.H.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — After winning a partial grant of summary judgment in a District of Columbia federal court that enjoined the Food and Drug Administration from enforcing premarket tobacco application (PMTA) deadlines against premium cigars and remanded the FDA's rule for premium cigars, cigar and pipe tobacco industry associations on Aug. 26 filed a notice of appeal challenging the court's past rulings that upheld similar FDA rules for non-premium cigars and pipe tobacco (Cigar Association of America, et al. v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, et al., No. 16-1460, D. D.C.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Supreme Court review is needed for United Parcel Service Inc.'s challenge to a $98 million damages award to New York state and city for UPS's illegal shipments of untaxed cigarettes from Native American smoke shops "to resolve a circuit split and to restore the integrity of Congress's comprehensive scheme of tobacco regulation," the company argues in an Aug. 18 reply brief (United Parcel Service, Inc. v. New York, et al., No. 19-1306, U.S. Sup.).
PHILADELPHIA — Two retail store industry associations and R.J. Reynolds Vapor Co. filed a lawsuit on July 31 seeking to halt enforcement of an ordinance in Philadelphia that restricts the sale of electronic cigarettes to store that are licensed as "adults-only" establishments and bans the sale of flavored e-cigarettes as the plaintiffs write that the ordinance is preempted and superseded by two Pennsylvania statutes (Asian American Licensed Beverage Association of Philadelphia, et al. v Philadelphia, No. 200702307, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida Supreme Court on Aug. 11 and 13 accepted jurisdiction over two Engle progeny cases, one in which a smoker's widow challenges the reversal of a $5 million punitive damages award and the other in which a plaintiff challenges the reversal of a $6.4 million compensatory award for lack of individualized detrimental evidence (Mary E. Sheffield v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. SC19-601; Linda Prentice v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, No. SC20-291, Fla. Sup.).
LOS ANGELES — A California federal judge on Aug. 7 entered orders in two separate actions granting Los Angeles County's motions to dismiss challenges to its ordinance banning the sale of flavored tobacco products within the county, one brought by tobacco companies and the other brought by a vaping industry association and vape shop (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al. v. Los Angeles, et al., No. 20-4880, C.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141961; CA Smoke & Vape Association, Inc., et al. v. Los Angeles, et al., No. 20-4065, C.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141962).
PHOENIX — An Arizona state court judge on July 27 issued a default judgment against New Jersey-based producer of vaping products and flavored pods Eonsmoke LLC and ordered the company to pay the state of Arizona $22.5 million to resolve the state attorney general's consumer fraud lawsuit against it, including nearly $22 million in civil penalties (Arizona v. Eonsmoke LLC, No. CV2020-000318, Ariz. Super., Maricopa Co.).
MIAMI — A Florida appellate panel on Aug. 5 affirmed a trial court's granting of a tobacco company's motion for a directed verdict in a smoker's widow's suit seeking punitive damages for non-intentional tort claims, finding that the widow did not present sufficient evidence showing that her product liability claims and her husband's death from COPD were directly caused by R.J. Reynolds' misconduct (Joyce Hardin v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 3D18-0958, Fla. App., 3rd Dist., 2020 Fla. App. LEXIS 11123).