SAN FRANCISCO — Two public health advocacy organizations filed a lawsuit against U.S. government health agencies on June 17, accusing the agencies of violating federal law by not completing a review of the risks of menthol cigarettes to determine whether menthol flavor tobacco products should be banned after a review of menthol products was ordered by Congress and an effort to ban menthol was announced by a former Food and Drug Administration commissioner (African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council, et al. v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, et al., No. 20-4012, N.D. Calif.).
MIAMI — A Florida appellate panel on July 15 affirmed the denial of a tobacco company’s motion for a directed verdict on fraud claims of a smoker who was awarded $7.25 million in compensatory and punitive damages by a jury because the panel found evidence of the smoker’s lifelong exposure to the tobacco companies’ “disinformation campaign” was sufficient to establish his reliance on misrepresentations of material facts by the tobacco industry (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company v. Paul E. Rouse, No. 3D19-0629, Fla. App., 3rd Dist., 2020 Fla. App. LEXIS 10087).
LOS ANGELES — A California federal judge on July 13 denied a motion for a preliminary injunction filed by tobacco companies to halt enforcement of Los Angeles County’s ban on flavored tobacco products after finding that federal regulations governing tobacco products do not preempt the county from enacting a ban on flavors as such a ban does not constitute a new “tobacco products standard” (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, et al. v. Los Angeles, et al., No. 20-4880, C.D. Calif.).
PHOENIX — Juul Labs Inc.’s motion to dismiss a consumer fraud lawsuit filed against it by Arizona on the grounds of preemption by federal tobacco regulations was denied June 17 by a Maricopa County Superior Court judge (Arizona v. Juul Labs Inc., No. CV2020-000317, Ariz. Super., Maricopa Co.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals on July 7 said the Food and Drug Administration’s warning requirements for cigars and pipe tobacco violated the Administrative Procedure Act because it failed to consider whether the regulation would affect the number of tobacco users as required by the Tobacco Control Act (Cigar Association of America, et al. v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, et al., No. 18-5195, D.C. Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 21023).
SAN FRANCISCO — E-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc. on June 22 moved to dismiss seven bellwether government entity complaints in the multidistrict litigation against it for failure to state a claim as it asserts that the six school districts and one county fail as a matter of law to establish that Juul is liable for the alleged harms, including increased youth vaping and related new municipal costs for prevention and education programs (In Re: Juul Labs, Inc., Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2913, No. 19-md-2913, N.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO — Five Native American tribes on June 15 filed complaints in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California accusing e-cigarette maker Juul and tobacco company Altria of violating federal racketeering laws and creating a public nuisance by targeting tribal youth with deceptive marketing and contributing to a vaping epidemic (Jamestown S'klallam Tribe v. Juul Labs, Inc. et al., No. 20-3983; Port Gamble S'klallam Tribe v. Juul Labs, Inc. et al., No. 20-3984; Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe v. Juul Labs, Inc. et al., No. 20-3985; Pala Band of Mission Indians v. Juul Labs, Inc. et al., No. 20-3986; Klamath Tribes v. Juul Labs, Inc. et al., No. 20-3987, N.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO — Plaintiffs in the Juul multidistrict litigation on June 29 opposed defense motions to dismiss or stay their claims, saying that product liability claims are explicitly protected from preemption under federal tobacco regulations, that their racketeering and consumer fraud claims are well-founded and that a stay to allow for a Food and Drug Administration decision on the regulation of e-cigarette products would lead to “indefinite delay” (In Re: Juul Labs, Inc., Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2913, No. 19-md-2913, N.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO — Tobacco company Altria Group Inc. on June 22 moved for dismissal from bellwether complaints filed by six school districts and one county in the Juul multidistrict litigation, arguing that the plaintiffs fail to establish that Altria caused any of the alleged injuries because most of them occurred before Altria invested in Juul Labs Inc. in December 2018 (In Re: Juul Labs, Inc., Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2913, No. 19-md-2913, N.D. Calif.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Supreme Court guidance is required to cure a conflict among the courts created when a California appeals court incorrectly held that the state has personal jurisdiction to regulate the sale of cigarettes by an Indian tobacco company in California, the company argues in its June 23 reply brief (Native Wholesale Supply Company v. People of California ex rel. Xavier Becerra, No. 19-985, U.S. Sup.).
RICHMOND, Va. — Cigar industry associations on June 18 petitioned the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals for panel rehearing and rehearing en banc regarding their motion to intervene in a district court case concerning the Food and Drug Administration’s regulations for newly deemed tobacco products, arguing that the panel’s opinion affirming the denial of their motion created a circuit split regarding the timeliness of motions to intervene and will damage judicial efficiency (In re: Cigar Association Of America, et al., No. 19-2130, 4th Cir.).
LOS ANGELES — A vaping industry group in a complaint filed in a California federal court on June 7 argues that the city of Palmdale, Calif., wrongly banned e-cigarette flavors, including tobacco and menthol, and effectively banned all sales of e-cigarettes, while tobacco companies in a June 4 motion for a preliminary injunction argue that Los Angeles County’s ban on flavored tobacco products wrongly bans menthol cigarettes and flavored smokeless tobacco products (CA Smoke & Vape Association, Inc., et al. v. Palmdale, No. 20-5039; R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al. v. Los Angeles, et al., No. 20-4880; C.D. Calif.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Food and Drug Administration and two government officials in a May 29 appellee brief to the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals defended the FDA’s 2016 deeming rule regulating e-cigarettes as properly ratified, properly issued and not in violation of the appointments clause of the U.S. Constitution or the First Amendment (Moose Jooce, et al. v. Food and Drug Administration, et al., No. 20-5048, D.C. Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO — Comparing her situation to that of famed tobacco industry whistleblower Jeffrey Wigand, a former employee of e-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc. claims in a complaint filed June 4 in a federal court in California that she and other Juul employees are illegally prevented from disclosing illegal and unethical business practices by Juul due to nondisclosure agreements Juul requires its employees to sign in violation of California law (Marcie Hamilton v. Juul Labs Inc., No. 20-3710, N.D. Calif.).
RICHMOND, Va. — E-cigarette industry groups on May 22 petitioned the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reconsider its dismissal as moot of their appeal of a district court order setting premarket tobacco application (PTMA) deadlines for vaping products because they say the order was not mooted by subsequent Food and Drug Administration guidance regarding PMTAs (In re: Cigar Association Of America, et al., No. 19-2130, 4th Cir.).
NEW YORK — A Canadian First Nations-owned cigarette manufacturer in a June 1 appellant brief urges the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse the dismissal of its constitutional challenge to a Connecticut state regulation on cigarette sales, which it asserts is an irrational requirement that is “impossible” to comply with and that conflicts with applicable federal law by regulating commerce beyond the state’s borders (Grand River Enterprises Six Nations Ltd. v. John Biello, Acting Commissioner of Connecticut Department of Revenue Services, No. 20-1044, 2nd. Cir.).
PHILADELPHIA — E-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc. on June 1 asked a Pennsylvania court to dismiss or stay the state attorney general’s lawsuit accusing it of illegally and deceptively marketing and advertising its products to youth as it asserts that those claims are preempted by federal law and the attorney general lacks standing to bring common-law tort claims on behalf of the states’ citizens (Pennsylvania v. Juul Labs Inc., No. 200200962, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (RJR) in a May 26 jurisdictional answer brief urges the Florida Supreme Court to confirm a divided appellate panel’s reversal of a $6.4 million compensatory damages verdict for a smoker’s daughter due to the trial court not instructing the jury to find whether the decedent relied on fraudulent statements by RJR and asks that if the high court accepts jurisdiction, it also review RJR’s arguments against the use of Engle Phase I findings in establishing the conduct element of claims brought by Engle progeny plaintiffs (Linda Prentice v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, No. SC20-291, Fla. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO — Tobacco company Altria Group Inc. on May 29 moved to dismiss unfair competition and racketeering claims brought against it and its subsidiaries in a class action complaint filed in the multidistrict litigation against e-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc., in which Altria holds a 35 percent stake, arguing that the claims against it are impermissibly vague and that it had no involvement in Juul’s allegedly tortious conduct (In Re: Juul Labs, Inc., Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2913, No. 19-md-2913, N.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCIO — E-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc. on May 29 filed four motions challenging claims in the pending multidistrict litigation against it, seeking to dismiss all claims against it as preempted by Food and Drug Administration authority, to dismiss racketeering and state law claims against it for failure to state a claim, to dismiss 25 subclasses’ claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and to stay the MDL based on the FDA’s primary jurisdiction and pending premarket review of its products (In Re: Juul Labs, Inc., Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2913, No. 19-md-2913, N.D. Calif.).