The number of plaintiffs in the multidistrict litigation (MDL) against e-cigarette maker Juul Labs has been reduced by 19 after a federal judge in California dismissed the individuals with prejudice on November 29.
Juul, which once owned the nation’s largest share of the e-cigarette market, argued that since the individuals failed to complete the prerequisite fact sheets during the litigation, they should be dismissed from the case, Law360.com reported.
Despite the plaintiffs being tossed from the MDL for improperly filing paperwork, the MDL still has approximately 3,000 plaintiffs, which mostly consist of school districts, tribal nations and other municipalities that accuse Juul of false claims over safety of its vape products.
On Oct. 29, Juul urged U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick—who granted Juul’s request to dismiss the 19 plaintiffs—to select school districts in Arizona and Kansas as the first bellwether trials in the MDL.
In addition to seeking the dismissal of the 19 plaintiffs, Juul has also attempted to dismiss suits against two Native American tribes, one in New York state and the other in Michigan.
The Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians and the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe maintain that Juul’s deceitful marketing practices with its so-called “smoking cessation devices” has created an epidemic of teenage electronic cigarette smoking.
The tribes claim that the injuries to the communities are “sufficient to establish racketeering and negligence claims,” per Law360.com.
However, Juul countered those claims by suggesting that the only injury the tribes have experienced has been economic damage in dealing with teenage vaping. Because no property damage was claimed, Juul attorneys maintained that RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) Act charges are not appropriate.
But the tribes countered that argument by claiming the court has already established that vape pens contain hazardous waste that the tribal nations have to pay for in order to safely remove.
The suit brought forth against Juul by the tribal nations also names tobacco giant and Juul’s largest investor, Altria, as well as several executives of Juul.