If you are one of the many people who purchased and used Juul e-cigarettes, and you suffered injuries as a result, you should consult with a law firm handling these lawsuits as soon as possible. A product liability lawyer at Malman Law can evaluate whether you might have a claim against Juul and help determine the next steps toward holding Juul Labs, Inc. liable for your injuries.
E-cigarettes are an alternative to traditional cigarettes that use electronic devices to simulate the smoking of tobacco. An e-cigarette user inhales an aerosol vapor instead of smoke, which led to the nickname “vape pens” or “vapes.” The devices are also referred to as “electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).” These devices can resemble a cigarette, but some look more like pens or flash drives.
E-cigarette companies claim that these devices are less dangerous to your health than traditional cigarettes. They also advertise the devices as a method of helping people quit smoking cigarettes. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved e-cigs as an aid to quit smoking, and other health experts have stated that there is not sufficient evidence that e-cigarettes are an accepted method to quit smoking.
E-cigarettes and similar products do have fewer chemicals than tobacco cigarettes, but this does not mean they are safe and healthy. Users inhale and exhale an aerosol that can contain several types of harmful chemicals and substances, such as:
Most consumers have little idea about what e-cigarette aerosols contain, and they rely on claims from companies that they are a safe alternative to cigarettes. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
While researchers are still getting to the bottom of the complete health risks of vaping, the following are some findings.
Nicotine is a highly addictive substance that can lead to a reliance on e-cigarettes. Nicotine can cause damage to developing babies when used by pregnant women, as well as hinder the developing brains of children, teenagers, and young adults. If a child swallows, inhales, or absorbs the liquid from an e-cigarette through their eyes or skin, it can lead to toxic acute nicotine poisoning.
E-cigarette aerosol contains a number of chemicals that can lead to various health problems. These can include metals, cancer-causing chemicals, particles that can damage the lungs, and more.
Accidents and Injuries
In addition to health issues, e-cigarettes can also malfunction and cause physical injuries. Some e-cig batteries have caught on fire or exploded while charging, which can result in serious burns and other injuries.
E-cigarettes are considered to be safer than traditional cigarettes, but this does not mean they are safe products. While they might be an alternative to smoking for adults who are having difficulty quitting, it is not safe for young people or pregnant women to use e-cigarettes or even inhale second-hand vapor.
Researchers are still trying to discover all of the possible long-term effects of e-cigarettes. Without additional studies, people could be putting themselves at serious health risks when they use vaping products.
In only a couple of short years, the Juul e-cigarette took over almost half of the e-cig market. The company’s devices have a cartridge that heats up, which turns oils from the pods into vapor. Users inhale and exhale this vapor. This type of e-cigarette device resembles a tech product, such as a flash drive, so it does not appear to be a cigarette or cigarette replacement product. This vapor contains nicotine in amounts similar to a pack of cigarettes per cartridge.
In general, e-cigarettes have risen in popularity in the past decade, and the industry is expected to top $86 billion by 2025, according to forecasts. Juul makes up a significant percentage of this market, and it is by far the most purchased and used e-cigarette product.
Juul rose in popularity largely due to aggressive marketing efforts that targeted social media apps. Its ads claimed that vaping was a safer alternative to smoking, which many people took to mean the product was safe in general. The company’s marketing tactics have been heavily scrutinized as being deceptive, especially to teens and young adults who were looking for a smoking alternative. Based on this marketing, consumers might believe they are using a safe product when, in reality, vaping has its own serious health risks.
Juul has faced particular criticism for using tactics that might target or be particularly attractive to young demographic groups. This led the United States Surgeon General to issue an advisory calling youth vaping a serious “epidemic” in our country. There are different reasons why the corporation is accused of targeting young consumers.
One of the main reasons why Juul is accused of purposely marketing to teens and young adults is the flavors offered in Juul cartridges. The flavors prevent the nicotine vapors from tasting like cigarette smoke or smelling like cigarette smoke, which reduces the stigma of vaping and makes the experience more enjoyable for many people.
Juul offerings include fruit flavors, such as mango, and dessert flavors, such as creme brulee, peppermint, chocolate, coffee, and butterscotch. The buttery flavors are the ones with the highest prevalence of diacetyl, which can cause lung damage.
Cigarette companies are banned from selling flavored tobacco cigarettes, but e-cigarette companies found ways to get around these bans. As a result, the comapny has been accused of selling flavors that directly attract youth to vaping. People believe that the flavor offerings are a major factor in the vaping epidemic among young people.
Cigarettes and cigarette packs are easily recognizable, and teens do not want to get caught with cigarettes. Many e-cigarette devices, including Juuls, are designed to look like tech products instead of an apparatus used for smoking. In addition, most e-cigarettes do not emit an odor similar to tobacco cigarettes, so teens might be able to vape more often without detection.
Since people can conceal these products easier (especially Juul devices), and they can use vaping devices without being detected in many settings, it is no surprise that youth are drawn to these products. Combine these factors with Juul’s major social media marketing efforts and the belief that vaping is safer than smoking, and the youth market was easily captured.
In response to certain initial lawsuits, Juul Labs, Inc. reduced its marketing efforts on social media and stopped selling certain attractive flavors in gas stations and other stores where they might be easily accessible to underage teens. However, this has done little to stop the meteoric rise of young vape users.
One study revealed that almost 50 percent of people who followed Juul on Twitter were teenagers. Because of the mischaracterization that vaping is safe, it has been an uphill battle to reduce teen use of Juul and similar products. Teenagers and young adults have been a highly susceptible group when it comes to Juul’s marketing efforts, and research shows that teens are a whopping 16 times more likely to use Juul than older demographic groups.
Surveys indicate that youth believe that Juul is a safe product, and about two-thirds of young users do not even realize that Juul vapors contain nicotine. Many teens are convinced that they are vaping flavor only, and before they know it, they can become addicted to nicotine and suffer the harmful effects that nicotine can have on young brains.
If your teen suffered injuries due to Juul or other vape products, you should discuss a possible lawsuit with an experienced e-cig claims attorney. There are many injuries being claimed in existing lawsuits, and our law firm can advise whether you might have a valid claim.
People who used Juul have cited many different injuries they associate with vaping. Some injuries include:
If you or your child has experienced any of the above issues, it is critical that you stop using vape products as soon as possible. Then, you should set up a case evaluation with a law firm that is filing these lawsuits.
Those conducting ongoing research on vaping and related injuries categorize injuries stemming from Juul use as e-cigarette or vaping use-associated lung injury (EVALI). Many EVALI lawsuits have already been filed, citing a variety of causes and injuries. The number of lawsuits is expected to increase in the coming months and years as we learn more and more about the health risks that vaping use presents.
EVALI lawsuits not only seek compensation for injured users who relied on marketing messages, but also seek to hold Juul accountable for misleading marketing and advertising to teenagers. These cases can help individuals, families, and the American public as a whole.
Health professionals believe that vitamin E acetate, which is contained in some e-cigarettes, is a primary cause of EVALI, among other factors. This is because vitamin E acetate was found in the bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid of almost all EVALI patients who were tested, while it was not detected in the BAL fluid of people without an EVALI diagnosis. There are other substances in vaping products that are suspected of contributing to the development of EVALI, and this is under investigation.
To complicate matters, there is not a single test that diagnoses EVALI. Instead, medical professionals often must use a process of elimination, as the signs and symptoms can appear to be those of other respiratory conditions. Some symptoms include:
Often, doctors will review CT scans, x-rays, and other imaging tests to identify lung tissue damage and opacities.
If you are diagnosed with EVALI, your treatment plan will depend on the severity of your illness. Treatment can involve:
Many patients with EVALI become unable to breathe on their own and might need to rely on a ventilator for some time. They can be hospitalized until they are able to breathe without assistance, though relapse is common. Once someone is discharged from the hospital, they likely will need follow-ups with pulmonology specialists soon afterward. Many cases of EVALI have been fatal.
If you or a loved one received a diagnosis of EVALI or related lung conditions after using Juul vape products, you might have the right to recover for your losses by holding Juul or other vape companies liable.
It is important that victims injured by Juul products take legal action – both for their own benefit and the benefit of the public good. When companies like Juul engage in misleading marketing and make misrepresentations regarding their products, they should be held accountable for any harm that results.
When a manufacturing company is negligent, and consumers suffer harm, the company should have to cover all of the losses that victims incur. There are different ways that companies can be negligent, including:
Any of the above can lead to a product liability claim seeking damages for injuries someone suffered while using the product.
Many product liability lawsuits involve pharmaceuticals or other substances that people ingest and then suffer illness. Many of the large pharma companies fail to warn consumers about the risks of certain medications, so they unknowingly take the medication with the belief it is safe.
This is the same type of claim that Juul faces in many cases. Plaintiffs are claiming that Juul failed to properly warn of the health risks of using its vape pens. If they had realized and been warned of the risks, including nicotine addiction, many consumers likely would not have started using the Juul e-cigarette device.
Consumers can also file claims alleging a violation of consumer protection laws, which might include false advertising. Juul faces several allegations of misleading marketing and misrepresentation of the safety of its products.
Product liability lawsuits can be highly technical. They often require industry experts to review the product in question and give their opinion regarding whether the company was negligent. Medical experts might also be necessary to connect a specific health issue with the use of a product.
In some cases, product liability claims become class-action lawsuits, which can become even more confusing for plaintiffs. It is important for anyone who believes they might have a claim to contact an experienced product liability attorney as soon as possible.
This complex type of lawsuit involves many different plaintiffs who have similar claims against a common defendant. They can join together to file a single claim against the defendant, which can save time and resources for all parties involved.
The United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation decided to consolidate the cases into a multi-district litigation (MDL) under Viscomi et al. v. JUUL Labs, Inc. et al. The Panel also transferred the MDL to the Northern District of California.
At the time of the MDL consolidation, there were ten active cases filed and approximately 40 additional plaintiffs with similar claims. Since then, additional plaintiffs have joined the lawsuit, and it is open to additional people injured by Juul products.
The claims against Juul are many and encompass a wide range of deceptive marketing practices. Some claims include:
As you can see, this is a complicated matter. Whether you or your teen became addicted to nicotine due to vaping or suffered a serious medical condition as a result of vaping, you should discuss the possibility of joining the lawsuit with an experienced Juul attorney. Not every law firm will know how to handle this type of case, so you want to find the right lawyer for your situation.
As of the summer of 2021, the MDL against Juul included more than 2,300 claimants. In addition, several states have filed claims against the corporation due to deceptive advertising of a dangerous product. States claim that Juul had an instrumental role in creating the teen and youth vaping epidemic due to its marketing efforts targeted toward minors.
The corporation has denied intentionally marketing to minors to get them to begin vaping. However, in June 2021, Juul Labs, Inc. agreed to a settlement with the North Carolina Attorney General of $40 million. This is the first state settlement to be reached, and the company faces claims from at least nine more states at this time.
Did you use Juul and think you might have a cause of action against the company? Did you suffer losses and want to hold Juul accountable? You are not alone, but there are steps you need to take to protect yourself and your rights.
The most critical thing you should do is to quit using Juul and other e-cigarettes immediately. This can help to mitigate your injuries and improve your prognosis. It also demonstrates that you are taking your health seriously, believe in the dangers of Juul use, and took the steps necessary to stop using this addictive product.
In some cases, stopping Juul use can be challenging, which only indicates the risks of the product. Many people need to decrease their use slowly instead of quitting all at once, but it is important to try to quit as soon as possible if you are filing a claim.
You should gather as much information as possible that might be relevant to your case. You can present this to your attorney, or your attorney can provide you with information requests following your consultation. This evidence can show that you used Juul, how often, and how it affected your life.
Some evidence might include:
As soon as you suspect you might have a legal claim, it is a good idea to start a journal where you detail how your Juul use and injuries unfolded. Discuss when you started vaping, how your vaping habit progressed, the symptoms you felt, your medical treatment, how any addiction progressed, and any other information that might be relevant to your case.
Memories fade, and it can be more difficult to remember key details about when you started using Juul, increased your use, developed injuries, and stopped vaping. Writing it down sooner rather than later helps to make sure that you remember the details of your experience consistently.
Once you have information and evidence, it is time to get an experienced lawyer involved if you have not already. This is because product liability claims are highly complicated, and you need a skilled legal advocate fighting for the compensation you deserve from companies like Juul Labs, Inc.
One of the most important steps in seeking compensation for your product-related injuries is determining the value of your losses. You need to prove your losses to obtain compensation for them, so having an accurate value is key. However, you never want to underestimate your losses, which is common for injured plaintiffs to do. An experienced attorney can help to advise you of how much compensation you deserve.
Damages in product-related injury claims can fall into different categories:
If you accept a settlement that does not fully cover your losses, you could be left responsible for many costs. Always make sure that you know the full value of your claim so you can fight for the full amount of damages you deserve.
Knowing the value of your claim is only the beginning, as you will need to prove your damages during the legal process. Some evidence that might prove damages includes:
An attorney will know what type of evidence is necessary to prove all of your damages – past and future, tangible and intangible.
Once you assess the value of your claim, you can begin the process of seeking full compensation for the losses you suffered due to Juul or other vape use.
In some cases, EVALI and other injuries from vaping can be fatal. If someone dies due to a medical condition due to using e-cigarettes, the victim is no longer able to hold the company accountable in court. However, the law then provides the right to family members to take legal action in a wrongful death case.
Wrongful death requirements are set out in state law. In Illinois, the following apply to such claims:
If you lost a loved one after an EVALI diagnosis or due to another injury caused by vaping, you should not wait to discuss a possible wrongful death case with an attorney.
Many people who suffer injuries from dangerous products hesitate to contact a lawyer. This is because they worry about paying large upfront legal fees, and they might think that pursuing a case when you need an attorney is not worth the cost.
The good news is that product liability lawyers handling Juul cases do so on a “contingency fee basis.” This means the following:
We thoroughly explain our fee system to prospective clients so they know exactly what is expected of them after a case is successful. In a contingency fee arrangement, our interests are fully aligned since if you do not win, we do not receive any payment for our work. This allows injured individuals to take on large corporations like Juul without needing to present large retainers or fees out of their own pockets.
Never hesitate to contact an attorney because you are worried about cost. Instead, set up your free case evaluation today.
Each claimant has a different experience when it comes to suffering injuries from e-cigarette use. The following are some overviews of situations that have led people to file lawsuits against e-cig corporations.
Popcorn Lung – The diacetyl arising from flavored Juul cartridges has been connected with cases of the respiratory disease of bronchitis obliterans, commonly known as popcorn lung. This condition causes serious breathing problems, and it can cause respiratory failure and death without proper treatment.
One teenager who was a regular e-cig user developed the condition and had to be placed on life support. He spent 47 days hospitalized and likely has permanent lung damage and chronic respiratory issues. Doctors were unsure of the initial diagnosis and cause of illness, but after significant treatment and research, they diagnosed the teen with popcorn lung, which stems from the inhalation of diacetyl, and they connected it to vape use.
While Juul denies that any of its products contain diacetyl, research reports indicate otherwise. Researchers are continuing to nail down the connection between e-cigarette flavors and diacetyl leading to popcorn lung.
Wrongful death – Juul faced its first wrongful death lawsuit filed in October 2019. The parent of an 18-year-old claimed that he started vaping at age 15 and continued to do so throughout his teen years. The teenager required hospitalization for a few days due to breathing problems, and he required nicotine patches while in the hospital because of the severity of his addiction.
Once released, the teen continued vaping due to nicotine addiction and passed away in his sleep. The wrongful death claim alleges that Juul had a substantial role in causing the death due to marketing dangerous products to teenagers.
EVALI – As discussed, EVALI refers to a range of respiratory issues stemming from vitamin E acetate exposure due to vaping and e-cigarettes. Thousands of people have been hospitalized with this diagnosis, and many of them have joined in the Juul litigation.
BOOP – Some lawsuits involve another type of lung disease called bronchiolitis obliterans organizing pneumonia (BOOP). One major cause of this rare inflammatory lung disease is chemical exposure, which is one reason it has been linked to vaping. Two college students claimed BOOP and other serious lung disorders in their lawsuits against Juul, claiming their disorders prevent them from playing sports and engaging in regular activities without severe breathing issues.
Seizures – The FDA has been investigating reports of seizures stemming from e-cigarette use, many of which involve teenagers and young adults. It appears that more than 125 people had known seizures over the course of a decade since vaping became mainstream. Some seizure victims or their parents have filed lawsuits.
The parents of a 15-year-old filed a claim indicating that her seizures stemmed from ingesting high nicotine levels while vaping and accidentally swallowing Juul cartridge liquid. Another 14-year-old who became addicted to vaping suffered seizures and required professional rehabilitation services to break his nicotine addiction.
Stroke – One young man who claimed he was going through two Juul pods per day to satisfy his nicotine habit suffered a massive stroke at the age of 19. As a result of the massive hemorrhagic stroke, he required three different brain surgeries, was hospitalized for 100 days and was left paralyzed on the left side of his body. He lives with vision loss and speech impairment as a result.
Medical studies have linked vaping to heart problems and higher stroke risks in e-cig users. Researchers claim that users have a 71 percent greater risk of having a stroke than non-users, a 59 percent greater risk of a heart attack, and a 40 percent greater risk of developing heart disease.
Contaminated pods – One lawsuit came from a former executive at Juul regarding concerns about selling contaminated pods. A previous senior vice president stated he raised the alarm about one million mint-flavored pods that were contaminated but still sent out to retailers to be purchased and used by consumers.
He claimed that Juul knew it was selling expired or contaminated pods but would not issue a recall or even publish a warning regarding consumer health and safety. Current Juul leaders denied ever knowingly selling a contaminated product.
This claim did not directly connect the alleged contamination with EVALI or other lung injuries associated with vaping. However, it demonstrates that Juul was potentially willing to sell dangerous products without warning consumers.
Each person’s claim regarding e-cigarette use and injuries will be different. Your claim might involve one type of injury and damages, while someone else will claim different injuries and damages. However, the common goal is to hold Juul and related companies fully accountable for the harm they cause to consumers. This is an uphill battle, so anyone involved needs the right legal assistance from the very start of the process.
If you are in the Chicago area, and you or your child suffered injuries due to Juul use, you should not wait to speak with a law firm that is handling e-cigarette cases. The experienced legal team at Malman Law can review the circumstances of your injuries and advise whether you have a claim.
Contact our legal team directly for additional information about your legal rights and options. We help people who are injured by large companies on a regular basis.
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With decades of experience representing injury victims in the Chicagoland area and throughout Illinois, the attorneys at Malman Law have developed unparalleled knowledge of the laws and procedures involved in pursuing claims for personal injury, nursing home neglect, vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, and workers’ compensation. We will use our knowledge and experience to fight for maximum compensation for your losses.
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Attorney Steven J. Malman established Malman Law in 1994, and since then the firm has helped more than 20,000 clients obtain in excess of $500 million in financial compensation. If you have been seriously injured or lost a loved one due to an accident, you can rely on us to fight tirelessly to help you win the compensation you deserve.
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