Mealey's Tobacco

  • June 01, 2020

    Antitrust Allegations Will Remain Outside Juul MDL For Now, Judge Rules

    SAN FRANCISCO — The judge overseeing the Juul multidistrict litigation on May 26 denied a motion by the plaintiffs to amend their class complaint against e-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc. and tobacco manufacturer Altria Group Inc. to include antitrust causes of action and ruled that pending antitrust class actions against Juul and Altria are not member cases of the MDL but may be related to the MDL for purposes of discovery (In Re:  Juul Labs, Inc., Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2913, No. 19-md-2913, N.D. Calif.).

  • May 22, 2020

    Juul MDL Judge Orders Coordination With California’s Consolidated Juul Litigation

    SAN FRANCISCO — The judge overseeing the multidistrict litigation against e-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on May 20 issued a joint order coordinating proceedings and discovery with California’s Judicial Council Coordinated Proceeding (JCCP) against Juul in the Los Angeles County Superior Court (In Re:  Juul Labs, Inc., Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2913, No. 19-md-2913, N.D. Calif.).

  • May 18, 2020

    Vape Companies Tell D.C. Circuit FDA Deeming Rule Is Unconstitutional

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A group of vape shops and manufacturers in an April 29 appellant brief urges the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a district court’s grant of summary judgment to the government on claims that the Food and Drug Administration’s 2016 deeming rule regulating e-cigarettes violates the appointments clause of the U.S. Constitution because it was not issued by a properly appointed official and violates the First Amendment by restricting commercial speech (Moose Jooce, et al. v. Food and Drug Administration, et al., No. 20-5048, D.C. Cir.).

  • May 18, 2020

    Juul MDL Judge Announces Intent To Appoint Settlement Master

    SAN FRANCISCO — The judge overseeing the Juul Labs Inc. multidistrict litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on May 4 announced his intent to appoint a settlement master to facilitate discussions between the parties (In Re:  Juul Labs, Inc., Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2913, No. 19-md-2913, N.D. Calif.).

  • May 15, 2020

    On Remand, Judge Again Denies Issue Preclusion In Smoker’s Wrongful Death Suit

    BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — A federal judge in Connecticut readdressing a smoker’s widower’s motion to preclude findings regarding the tobacco industry’s manipulation of nicotine levels and cigarettes from his wrongful death lawsuit after remand by the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 12 found that the motion did not pass the “fairness” test for issue preclusion (Vincent J. Bifolck v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 06-1768, D. Conn., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83298).

  • May 14, 2020

    Judge Delays FDA’s Tobacco Product Graphic Warnings Deadline Due To Coronavirus

    TYLER, Texas — A federal judge in Texas on May 8 granted a joint motion filed by government agencies and tobacco merchants to extend deadlines for enforcement of the Food and Drug Administration’s new tobacco graphic warnings rule by six months due to logistical delays caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al. v. FDA, et al., No. 20-176, E.D. Texas).

  • May 12, 2020

    Philip Morris Sues To Vacate Or Delay FDA’s Tobacco Products Graphic Warnings Rule

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Philip Morris USA Inc. and a New Jersey-based cigarette company on May 6 filed a complaint in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the Food and Drug Administration’s latest rule requiring graphic warnings on tobacco packages and advertisements as unconstitutional and asking the court to vacate the rule and permanently enjoin enforcement of the statutory provision under which it was issued or, in the alternative, to delay its implementation (Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, et al., No. 20-1181, D. D.C.).

  • May 12, 2020

    Florida Panel Reverses Directed Verdict, Affirms Smoker’s Membership In Engle Class

    WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A Florida appellate panel on May 6 reversed a trial court’s directed verdict for three tobacco companies on strict liability and negligence claims brought by the estate of a deceased smoker, holding that testimony regarding the decedent’s use of the companies’ products established individual causation and remanding to reinstate the jury’s original $1.8 million verdict, which included $205,000 in punitive damages (Philip Morris USA Inc., et al. v. James Santoro, No. 4D18-1730, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2020 Fla. App. LEXIS 6236.)

  • May 11, 2020

    FDA Seeks Delay Of Graphic Warnings Requirement Deadline Due To Coronavirus Pandemic

    TYLER, Texas — A group of tobacco merchants and government agencies on May 6 filed a joint motion asking a federal court in Texas to extend deadlines for enforcement of the Food and Drug Administration’s new tobacco products graphic warnings rule by six months due to logistical delays caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al. v. FDA, et al., No. 20-176, E.D Texas).

  • May 07, 2020

    California Vaping Group Says Los Angeles’ Flavored Vapes Ban Is Unconstitutional

    LOS ANGELES — A California vaping trade association and vape shop on May 4 filed a complaint against Los Angeles County and its board of supervisors in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, seeking to enjoin the county from enforcing a recently enacted ordinance banning all flavored tobacco products that they assert will destroy the vaping industry in the county (CA Smoke & Vape Association, Inc., et al. v. Los Angeles, et al., No. 20-4065, C.D. Calif.).

  • May 07, 2020

    4th Circuit Dismisses Vaping Groups’ Appeal Of Tobacco Products Deadline As Moot

    RICHMOND, Va. — A Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 4 dismissed as moot an appeal by e-cigarette industry groups of a 2019 ruling setting premarket tobacco application (PMTA) deadlines as it was superseded by subsequent Food and Drug Administration guidance and affirmed the district court’s denial of cigar industry associations’ motion to intervene as time-barred (In re:  Cigar Association Of America, et al., No. 19-2130, 4th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 14205).

  • May 06, 2020

    Juul MDL Plaintiffs Ask Court To Set Up Common Benefit Fee And Expense Fund

    SAN FRANCISCO — The Plaintiffs Steering Committee (PSC) in the Juul Labs Inc. multidistrict litigation on May 2 asked the court to establish a two-tiered common benefit fee and expense fund in which plaintiffs’ counsel who agree to participate early pay a 7 percent assessment on future judgments and those who agree to participate later pay 10 percent (In Re:  Juul Labs, Inc., Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2913, No. 19-md-2913, N.D. Calif.).

  • April 28, 2020

    Juul, Altria Oppose MDL Plaintiffs Amending Complaint To Include Antitrust Claims

    SAN FRANCISCO — E-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc. (JLI) and tobacco manufacturer Altria Group Inc. on April 24 opposed amending the master class action complaint against them to include claims that they violated federal antitrust and anti-competition laws, writing that it would “impermissibly” expand the scope of the pending multidistrict litigation against them (In Re:  Juul Labs, Inc., Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2913, No. 19-md-2913, N.D. Calif.).

  • April 28, 2020

    Smoker’s Daughter Urges High Court To Review Reversal Of $6.4M Verdict

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A smoker’s daughter tells the Florida Supreme Court in an April 23 brief that it should exercise jurisdiction to review a divided appellate panel’s reversal of a $6.4 million verdict because the panel’s holding that a plaintiff must show reliance on a specific statement to prevail on a fraudulent concealment claim conflicts with other appellate courts’ holdings (Linda Prentice, as Personal Representative of the Estate of John C. Price, v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, No. SC20-291, Fla. Sup.).

  • April 27, 2020

    Juul Opposes Finding 2 Antitrust Class Action Complaints Related To MDL

    SAN FRANCISCO — E-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc. (JLI) on April 20 told the Juul multidistrict litigation court that it should find that two antitrust class actions against it and tobacco company Altria Group Inc. are not related to the MDL because there is no “substantial overlap” among the cases (In Re:  Juul Labs, Inc., Marketing, Sales Practices, And Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2913, No. 19-md-2913, N.D. Calif.).

  • April 24, 2020

    Florida High Court Refuses To Hear Appeal Of New Damages Trial For Smoker’s Widow

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida Supreme Court on April 14 declined to accept jurisdiction of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.’s appeal of an appellate court’s decision reversing a directed verdict and ordering a new trial on punitive damages only for a smoker’s widow, which the jury had found were warranted for the widow’s design defect claim (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company v. Mirtha Ledo, etc., No. 19-1131, Fla. Sup.).

  • April 24, 2020

    Montana: Tobacco Companies Wrongly Withholding $42M In Master Settlement Payments

    HELENA, Mont. — The Montana Attorney General’s Office on April 10 moved in state court to enforce provisions of the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) against tobacco manufacturers, alleging that tobacco manufacturers owe the state $42,726,519.65 in annual payments required under the MSA and have intentionally raised unsubstantiated disputes to evade or reduce the payments (Montana ex rel. Timothy Fox v. Philip Morris Inc., et al., No. CDV-1997-306, Mont. 1st Jud. Dist., Lewis and Clark Co.).

  • April 24, 2020

    Courts Extends Tobacco Application Deadlines Due To Coronavirus

    BALTIMORE — A federal judge in Maryland on April 22 extended premarket tobacco application (PMTA) deadlines for newly deemed tobacco products, including many e-cigarette products, by six months per a government request based on logistical difficulties caused by the novel coronavirus outbreak (American Academy of Pediatrics, et al. v. Food and Drug Administration, et al., No. 18-883, D. Md.).

  • April 14, 2020

    Juul, Altria’s $12.8B Deal Was Anti-Competitive, Class Complaint Alleges

    SAN FRANCISCO — The $12.8 billion investment by tobacco manufacturer Altria Group Inc. in e-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc. and subsequent retraction of Altria’s e-cigarette products from the market was anti-competitive and increased prices for consumers of Juul e-cigarettes, a Juul customer alleges in a proposed class action complaint filed April 7 against Altria and Juul in a federal court in California (Douglas J. Reece v. Altria Group Inc., et al., No. 20-2345, N.D. Calif.).

  • April 13, 2020

    Juul MDL Plaintiffs Seek To Add Antitrust, Coronavirus Claims To Complaints

    SAN FRANCISCO — Plaintiffs in the multidistrict litigation against e-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc., tobacco manufacturer Altria Group Inc. and other vaping businesses on April 10 filed proposed amended personal injury and class action master complaints in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California with new claims that Juul and Altria violated antitrust laws and new allegations that e-cigarette users are more susceptible to the novel coronavirus (In Re:  Juul Labs, Inc., Marketing, Sales Practices, And Products Liability Litigation, No. 19-2913, N.D. Calif.).

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