The case has come about because ten individuals (seven adults and three teens) from seven states (California, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington) allege that they purchased or used JUUL products. They (in the words of JUUL’s lawyers) “vaguely assert they would not have done so had they ‘known the truth of the matter about JUUL’.”
They claim that JUUL has:
- Engaged in false advertising
- Broken the Consumer Legal Remedies Act and “similar laws of other states”
- Committed fraud
- Carried out unfair, unlawful and deceptive trade practices
- Benefited from unjust enrichment
- Breached strict product liability through failing to warn of dangers
- Breached strict liability through a design defect
- Breached strict liability though a manufacturing defect
- Breached implied warranty of merchantability
- Breached express warranty, and
- Conducted business with negligent misrepresentation
JUUL contend that this is “a sweeping attack on JUUL Labs and its products, with baseless allegations and claims ranging from consumer fraud to product liability to breach of warranty, and several others. All this is despite the fact that many of the Plaintiffs admit they were hopelessly addicted to cigarettes before trying JUUL products and have not returned to smoking cigarettes since.”
JUUL points out that at least five of the seven adults are former smokers who acknowledge they were addicted to nicotine before they switched to vaping. They say that they switched to JUUL with the intent to stop smoking cigarettes, which (amusingly, according to the suit) “actually appears to have been successful for many Plaintiffs, as they allege they still use JUUL products and do not claim that they still smoke cigarettes.”
What those suing JUUL also state is that they switched “to reduce their nicotine consumption”, but JUUL’s lawyers point out “they fail to point to any representations by JUUL that its products are designed to eliminate nicotine consumption, and admit that JUUL Labs states that a JUULpod contains “about” the same amount of nicotine as a pack of cigarettes.”
JUUL says the plaintiffs appear to have totally ignored the wordings “approximately equivalent to about 1 pack of cigarettes”, “NOT FOR SALE TO MINORS”, and “keep away from children and pets”.
The parents of the underage smokers/vapers claim their children did not know the pods contained nicotine – to which the lawyers point out that it says so on the website and all of the packaging.
The legal team continue: “Plaintiffs allege little to nothing about what advertising, product labeling, or other representations they saw, let alone why these representations allegedly were false or misleading, when they saw them, where they saw them, or how such items supposedly affected them.”
The litigants do point to three adverts, which said:
- JUUL is “‘the satisfying alternative to cigarettes’”
- That “‘unlike other alternatives on the market, JUUL accommodates nicotine levels akin to a cigarette’s in order to satisfy smokers switching’”, and
- That JUUL Labs’ automatic JUULpod shipment service can be canceled “‘anytime’”
To whit the lawyers reply: “Plaintiffs’ own admitted conduct—switching to JUUL and not returning to smoking, suggests that the first two alleged statements are actually true”! And, none of them used the autoship service so they can’t attest to the veracity of JUUL’s promise on
The company and its legal team refute all the allegations and demand that their case is thrown out for four main reasons:
- They can’t invoke state law when federal law takes precedence, which is the case for all of their claims.
- The allegations consist of nothing more than “rhetoric” and are “hopelessly deficient” on provable fact at almost every turn.
- The ten can’t back up their statements for “causation, reasonable reliance, or any actionable material misrepresentations or omissions”. In fact, the suit refers to their statements as being nothing more than “puffery”.
- All express and implied warranty claims are moot as “they fail to plausibly allege any facts showing a breach”.
So the lawsuit demands: “The Court should grant JUUL Labs’ Motion and dismiss Plaintiffs’ First Amended Complaint in its entirety.”
There are varying opinions among vapers on JUUL as a company, but fighting back against lies, accusations and unverifiable claims is something all vapers can get behind. Those opposed to vaping have been focused on damning JUUL in the media and it was high time the company hit back – for itself as well as for vaping as a whole.