A new case update indicates parties involved in the JUUL injury litigation will select a small group of cases to be prepared for early 2022 trial dates. These lawsuits, part of the litigation’s bellwether trial process, raise similar claims that JUUL Labs’ products were unreasonably dangerous and contributed to teen and young adult’s nicotine addictions and vaping injuries.
Currently over 900 product liability and class action lawsuits have been filed in the U.S. District Court system for allegations against JUUL Labs, creators of JUUL e-cigarettes and flavor pods. Each of these lawsuits alleges teens and young adults developed severe injuries from vaping JUUL vaping pods, including nicotine addiction, nicotine poisoning, seizures, and strokes.
Many of the lawsuits in the litigation assert JUUL aggressively and illegally marketed their vaping products to minors, spurring the U.S.’s teen vaping epidemic. According to allegations, JUUL created false and misleading advertisements about the safety of their products, which contain high levels of nicotine. School districts and states across the nation have now filed lawsuits against JUUL Labs, headquartered in San Francisco, for damages incurred by the nationwide vaping epidemic.
Given the number of complaints raising similar questions of fact and law, all federal JUUL injury lawsuits are centralized as part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL). U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick III presides over these cases in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, which is, also, where JUUL Labs’ San Francisco headquarters are located.
In late August, Judge Orrick indicated the first bellwether trials would begin in February 2022. These trials, whose outcomes are not binding on any other trails in the litigation, help parties gauge how juries will likely respond to certain testimony and evidence that will be repeated throughout the litigation.
On September 9, Judge Orrick released a case management order announcing his adoption of the plaintiff’s suggestions for how to select bellwether cases for trial and case schedule. Now, the parties and the court must select 24 JUUL injury lawsuits for the initial bellwether pool by December 15, 2020.
The first five bellwether trials are expected to begin in 2022 on February 22, March 28, May 9, and August 1. While the outcomes of these trials are not binding for other claims pending in the court system, they may influence any JUUL settlements offered by the manufacturer.