(July 29, 2019) A Juul lawsuit was filed for a stroke victim last week. Lawyers filed a Juul e-cigarette lawsuit for a 22-year-old Connecticut man. The lawsuit petition claims he smoked two Juul pods a day. He began “Juuling” in his last year of high school and continued until he stroked out roughly three years later. The petition says that Maxwell Berger inhaled a Juul e-cigarette every ten minutes intermittently for years until he suffered a severe stroke.
The lawsuit was filed in the California Superior Court for San Francisco County. Juul is headquartered in California.
Related: Juul E-Cigarette Lawsuit
Mr. Berger suffered a massive hemorrhagic stroke in July 2017. He spent more than 100 days in the hospital. He suffered three brain surgeries. He still suffers left-side paralysis, speech impairment, and a 50 percent loss of vision in both his eyes.
Editor’s Note: We post this blog under Drug & Medical Device Watch because Nicotine is a Drug.
Juul Lawsuit filed for Stroke Victim
“We are hoping that Juul takes responsibility for its conduct in targeting and luring young people to use its very dangerous products, and that they are held accountable for fair and reasonable compensation to this young man,” said Mr. Berger’s attorney.
Fraudulent Concealment, Negligence alleged
The lawsuit accuses Juul of fraudulent concealment and intentional misrepresentation of the product’s risks, along with negligence in promoting and selling to younger people, specifically those under 26. The lawsuit is the most severe claim of medical harm against Juul to date.
“The teen vaping was by design, not by accident,” says the lawsuit, which accuses Juul of appealing to teenagers and making the e-cigarettes seem “fun, healthy and cool.”
The lawsuit states that Mr. Berger became addicted in 2015, when Juul had already “become ubiquitous among his high school friends.”
Seven Other Juul Lawsuits
The Juul e-cigarette company faces seven other suits from various states. Most of the suits involve teenagers.
Juul CEO apologizes to Parents
In July 2019, the CEO of Juul apologized to parents whose teenage children had begun smoking. He claimed Juul’s products were never intended for their children. He admitted, however, that Juul has not done any long-term research on its products’ health effects.
Juul Labs has, for a long period of time, faced accusations of using fruity flavors and eye-catching packaging to market its products to teenagers. At the same time, Juul has repeatedly denied these claims.
Juul Class Action Lawsuit
In another Juul lawsuit, a 15-year-old Sarasota, Florida girl and her family have filed a class action lawsuit against Juul Labs and the tobacco company Altria Group, which owns Philip Morris. That suit alleges that Juul purposefully targeted teenagers. The company plan was to to hook teens on Juul vaping products with deceptive marketing tactics.
According to the Florida lawsuit — which lists the family as plaintiffs, as well as “those similarly situated” — the family accuses the manufacturers of these products of racketeering. The suit petition seeks damages for the named plaintiffs and potentially for anonymous plaintiffs not yet listed. The suit claims Juul knew its “e-cigarettes were not safe for nonsmokers, and posed a risk of aggravating addiction in those already addicted to cigarettes.” Altria is included in the petition because it owns a 35% stake in Juul.
The underage girl is identified as A.N in the Florida class action suit. Ms. A.N. claims that she started using Juul when she was 14. She said she enjoyed using Juul’s device because of its fruity mango flavor. At the time, says the suit, she was unaware that the device contained nicotine. One year after beginning steady use of the product, she became addicted to it. She now suffers seizures that are a rare potential side effect of nicotine addiction.
Defendants Prey on Youth
“Health authorities consider youth e-cigarette use an epidemic, and defendants are to blame,” states the complaint. The petition further claims: “Mimicking Big Tobacco’s past marketing practices, Defendants prey on youth to recruit replacement smokers for financial gain.”
Teen Vaping Epidemic
A recent National Institutes of Health study shows the number of teenagers smoking e-cigarettes has risen wildly. Nearly 21% of teenagers in 2018 reporting they had vaped within the past 30 days, up from 11% the previous year. The CDC has also reported that 4.9 million middle- and high-school students have reported using a tobacco product within the past 30 days, up from 1.3 million users in 2017. And although some users and promoters of vaping consider it safer than smoking regular burning cigarettes, e-cigarettes contain high doses of nicotine. Juul delivers as much nicotine as real cigarettes. New research has pointed to a range of potential health risks, including an increased risk of stroke and heart attacks.
Juul leads Teen Vaping Epidemic
From its Silicon Valley base, Juul sells the most popular vaping products. The company commands nearly 75% of the entire e-cigarette market. With its slick packaging disguised as a USB drive easy to conceal from parents or teachers, its broad choice of fruity flavors, its slick social media-based marketing campaigns (which Stanford researchers call “patently youth-oriented”), the Juul has specifically been accused by the FDA of trying to appeal to teenagers. In an effort to curb what FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb has referred to as a teen vaping “epidemic,” the FDA has issued more than 60 warning letters to Juul distributors which have sold to underage consumers.
FDA Warning Letters
While Juul has denied the FDA’s claims, the company has also taken small public steps to address the FDA’s criticisms. Juul has removed most flavored vapes from stores.
“Our intent was never to have youth use Juul,” Kevin Burns, the chief executive of Juul Labs, said in a statement last year. “But intent is not enough. The numbers are what matter and the numbers tell us underage use of e-cigarettes is a problem.”
Juul has repeatedly denied claims that the company was intentionally marketing to young users. Juul told Rolling Stone magazine: “JUUL Labs is committed to eliminating combustible cigarettes, the number one cause of preventable death in the world.”
The Juul spokesman further stated: “Our product is intended to be a viable alternative for current adult smokers only. We do not want non-nicotine users, especially youth, to ever try our product. To this end, we have launched an aggressive action plan to combat underage use as it is antithetical to our mission. To the extent these cases allege otherwise, they are without merit and we will defend our mission throughout this process.”