A California federal judge on Tuesday largely left intact multidistrict litigation claiming Juul Labs Inc. intentionally marketed its harmful tobacco products to young people, rejecting the second wave of motions to dismiss from the e-cigarette maker’s part-owner Altria Group Inc.
Juul and Altria are battling claims they misleadingly told the public that e-cigarettes are safer than traditional cigarettes, fanning the flames of a youth vaping epidemic. In reality, the products were designed to give users higher doses of nicotine than traditional cigarettes, according to the hundreds of plaintiffs in the MDL.
Specifically, they allege that the companies targeted teenagers, using social media and advertising to present Juul’s vapes as “fun,” “harmless” and not addictive.
Judge Orrick previously dismissed racketeering claims against the companies, finding that they weren’t specific enough.
In February, the court selected six lawsuits to serve as the first wave of government entity bellwethers.