As reported by Law360 (subscription), on July 22, 2021, U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick of the Northern District of California issued an order denying the bulk of the latest wave of defendant motions to dismiss the 18 bellwether suits in multidistrict injury and fraudulent advertising litigation against e-cigarette manufacturer Juul and its part-owner Altria. The complaints allege the companies deliberately and deceptively marketed their devices to addict underage teens to nicotine, in the process unleashing a nationwide youth vaping epidemic.

Judge Orrick trimmed several claims, but kept most of the disputed claims alive, finding that the allegations by the dozen and a half plaintiffs were strong enough to mandate trial.

Among other things, the plaintiffs have argued that Altria is liable for direct acts of fraud for its role in the “Make the Switch” campaign — which misled the public into thinking that Juul products were benign smoking-cessation devices, even though Juul was never designed to break addictions, as well as concealment of studies that revealed that Juul products were far more powerfully addictive than was disclosed.

In Thursday’s order, Judge Orrick noted that the plaintiffs had adequately alleged action by Altria as a part of those schemes.

Lieff Cabraser partner Sarah London serves as Co-Lead Counsel for the plaintiffs in the litigation.

Read the full article on Law360’s (subscription) site.

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