SAN FRANCISCO — A former executive for Juul Labs Inc. who alleges that the company knowingly distributed 1 million contaminated tobacco pods sued the company on Oct. 29 in a California federal court after he says he was fired for raising concerns (Siddharth Breja v. Juul Lab Inc., No. 19-7148, N.D. Calif.).
LEXINGTON, Ky. — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Oct. 11 urged a Kentucky federal court to deny a motion for a preliminary injunction filed by a vaping industry trade association and one of its members against the FDA’s enforcement of a premarket tobacco applications deadline that the group says will destroy the e-cigarette industry (Vapor Technology Association, et al. v. U.S. Food And Drug Administration, et al., No 19-0330, E.D. Ky.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A mother sued Juul Labs Inc. on Oct 15 in a California federal court, alleging that the e-cigarette manufacturer is responsible for the death of her 18-year-old son (Lisa Marie Vail v. Juul Labs Inc., No. 19-6597, N.D. Calif.).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A Florida appeals court on Oct. 24 reversed a $6.4 million verdict against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. in a wrongful death case, finding that the trial court erred in instructing the jury on a conspiracy to commit fraudulent concealment claim (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Linda Prentice, No. 1D17-2104, Fla. App., 1st Dist.).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A shareholder sued a distributor of e-cigarettes, vaporizers and accessories and products containing hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) and certain of its executive officers and directors in Florida federal court on Oct. 16, alleging that the defendants failed to disclose in offering documents for an initial public offering (IPO) a major initiative in the City of San Francisco that would severely impede the company’s business and financial success in offering documents in violation of federal securities laws (Randall Mayer v. Greenlane Holdings Inc., et al., No. 19-81411, S.D. Fla.).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Florida jury on Sept. 24 returned a defense verdict for tobacco company R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. after hearing that a man enjoyed smoking and never intended to quit. The jury found that cigarettes caused a man’s lung cancer but apportioned him 75 percent of the liability and awarded his estate no damages, sources told Mealey Publications (Robert Miller v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2008-CA-000401, Fla. 4th Cir., Duval Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
BOSTON — A Massachusetts jury on Sept. 26 awarded a woman $9,685,414 after hearing that Philip Morris designed its marketing to lure children into becoming lifelong customers, sources told Mealey Publications (Patricia Greene v. Philip Morris, No. 1581CV01808, Mass. Super., Middlesex Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
MIAMI — A Florida jury on Sept. 24 awarded $1.35 million to a man who claimed that he began smoking as a result of tobacco company misrepresentations, sources told Mealey’s Publications (Jorge Del Real v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No 2007-CA-032909, Fla. Cir., Dade Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — During oral arguments Oct. 8 before a Florida appellate panel, a lawyer representing R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Inc. denied that a trial lawyer committed a “gotcha” move during closing arguments of a trial that resulted in a defense verdict that was later reversed by the trial court judge, with a new trial awarded (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Phyllis Jones, No. 4D18-1132, Fla. App., 4th Dist.).
Litigation over vaping and e-cigarette products continues to heat up as school districts sue e-cigarette manufactures for costs associated with their students using the products and industry groups and states battle over regulations to limit use.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Trade Commission on Oct. 4 ordered six e-cigarette manufacturers to hand over data related to the sales and marketing practices of their products by Jan. 2.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Based on the application of state case law, a trial court did not err in compelling the state of New Mexico to arbitrate its dispute with tobacco manufacturers over nonparticipating manufacturers’ (NPM) adjustment to the tobacco master settlement agreement (MSA), a New Mexico Court of Appeals panel affirmed Sept. 25 (Hector H. Balderas v. Philip Morris, USA, Inc., et al., No. A-1-CA-36199, N.M. App., 2019 N.M. App. Unpub. LEXIS 382).
CHICAGO — A man’s lawsuit that alleges that he contracted laryngeal cancer from smoking cigarettes is headed back to an Illinois state court after a federal judge ruled that cigarette manufacturer defendants failed to prove that the smoker fraudulently joined retailer defendants (Martin Smith v. Philip Morris Inc., et al., No. 18-06397, N.D. Ill., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169092).
TAMPA, Fla. — In a blow to Sream Inc., exclusive licensee of the “RooR” trademark, a federal judge in Florida on Oct. 7 found that only a registrant or its assignee has standing to sue for infringement (RooR International B.V., et al. v. Good Timez III LLC, et al., No. 19-439, M.D. Fla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173283).
WILMINGTON, Del. — A chancellor of the Delaware Chancery Court on Sept. 23 denied cross-motions for partial judgment on the pleadings filed by cigarette manufacturers that are disputing which party is responsible for a $93 million judgment for unpaid settlement payments, finding that both parties’ reasonable interpretations of a contract would lead to different results (ITG Brands LLC v. Reynolds American Inc., et al., No. 2017-0129, Del. Chanc.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL) on Oct. 2 agreed to centralize 10 pending cases that allege that an e-cigarette maker created an addictive product that is deceptively marketed to children (In Re: Juul Labs, Inc., No. 2913, JPMDL).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A smoker who successfully sued R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. for injuries caused by cigarettes saw his motion for attorney fees based on a proposed settlement provisionally granted in a Sept. 25 per curiam opinion by a Florida appeals court (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Bush, No. 18-4043, Fla. App., 1st Dist., 2019 Fla. App. LEXIS 14484).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A Florida appeals court on Sept. 18 reversed a $7.1 million verdict awarded to a widower who claimed that Philip Morris USA Inc. concealed the harmfulness of smoking, which ultimately led to a woman’s lung cancer and death, remanding the case for a new trial (Philip Morris USA Inc. v. Michael Gentile, as personal representative of the estate of Brenda Gentile, No. 4D18-1439, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2019 Fla. App. LEXIS 14142).
BOSTON — A plaintiff told a Massachusetts jury on Sept. 5 that Philip Morris knew that teenagers were an important demographic for its cigarettes, chose to target them and was proud of how well its efforts worked. But the company said the plaintiff’s relatively short-term use of its cigarettes and her type of lung cancer suggest other causes of her disease (Patricia Greene v. Philip Morris, No. 1581CV01808, Mass. Super., Middlesex Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In an Aug. 8 amended complaint, plaintiffs challenging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s “Deeming Rule” added a new count seeking a declaration that the FDA’s subsequent 2017 Guidance, which extended compliance deadlines for premarket approval applications and substantial equivalence reports, remains “valid and in effect” (Cigar Association of America Inc., et al. v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, et al., No. 16-1460, D. D.C.).