A former executive of Juul Labs, Inc. filed a lawsuit against the company on October 29, claiming it knowingly sent out more than 1 million tainted e-cigarette nicotine pods. This lawsuit was filed as the company endures major criticism of contributing to a quickly spreading youth nicotine addiction problem related to vaping. Juul is also under fire as the vaping related lung disease, EVALI, that has taken the lives of at least 34 individuals in the nation, continues to spread.
The plaintiff in the lawsuit, Siddharth Breja, former Senior Vice President of Global Finance for the company, asserts that he was terminated improperly only days after raising issues about the contaminated pod shipments. Breja claims that executives of the company had full knowledge of the pod contamination issue, but refused to alert the public or issue a recall.
The lawsuit against Juul
The lawsuit also accuses Juul of attempting to sell vaping pods that were almost or completely expired during Breja’s employment at the company. Breja claims that as a result, he suggested adding a “best by date” to the packaging. Allegedly, the company’s former CEO Kevin Burns discounted Breja’s suggestion.
The above-mentioned lawsuit is only one of the most recent developments in many other troubling reports about Juul’s practices. The evidence points powerfully to the assertion that Juul purposely hooked young adults and teenagers onto the practice of vaping through its clever marketing efforts to feature the products as a safe substitute for cigarettes.
As an example, a representative from Juul in a recent school presentation to high school students propagated misleading claims about the safety of its vaping products. The suggestion made by the company’s representative was that students should promote Juul vaping products to their friends with nicotine addictions because it is a “safer alternative than smoking cigarettes.”
Warnings from the FDA
After this was publicized, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) sent a number of letters to Juul, including a warning letter dated September 9 cautioning the company of the illegality of making safety claims about its products without an FDA order. The letter addressed the FDA’s concerns over Juul making these claims directly to school children, particularly in light of significant evidence that vaping is adding to the nation’s youth nicotine addiction problem.
As of now, health officials have connected most deaths resulting from EVALI to tainted THC products. However, they have not excluded the possibility that some of the blame for these deaths was caused by nicotine-based products. Regardless of the specific cause, Juul’s flagrant disregard for public safety by purposely allowing contaminated pods to flood the marketplace and remain on the market is unacceptable and shocking.
In product liability cases, such as those involving vaping products, manufacturers are held strictly liable for any harm their defective or dangerous products cause to consumers. Injured victims of these products have the option to pursue compensation for medical expenses and lost income, in addition to physical and emotional pain and suffering.
If you or a loved one has suffered injury or illness from consuming an e-cigarette or vaping product, the Sevierville product liability attorneys at Delius & McKenzie, PLLC are here to help. With more than two decades of experience behind us, we can fight on your behalf for the justice and compensation you deserve. We serve clients throughout Tennessee, including in Sevierville, Gatlinburg, Seymour, and Pigeon Forge. To schedule a consultation about your case, give us a call today at 865.280.3686 or fill out our contact form.