Aleut Org. Sues Juul For Unequal Impact On Alaska Natives

The Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association Inc. lodged anti-racketeering claims against Juul Labs in a California federal court for knowingly targeting American Indian and Alaska Native youth in its advertisements within the Aleutian Pribilof Islands.

The federally recognized tribal organization’s suit brings another Native perspective to ongoing multidistrict litigation in California — possibly consisting of dozens of consolidated suits nationwide — against Juul Labs and tobacco giant Altria Group Inc. for misleading consumers into thinking its products are less addictive than traditional cigarettes.

APIA wrote that Juul’s targeted marketing has threatened the organization’s responsibility to protect the public health and safety of citizens of the 13 federally recognized tribes that fall under its jurisdiction.

APIA is bringing seven claims against Juul and Altria, including violating Alaska’s public nuisance law for exacerbating the “vaping epidemic,” breaching multiple aspects of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, negligently exposing APIA members to an unreasonable risk of harm and misrepresenting its products.

The organization additionally requested monetary compensation to punish Juul and Altria for “a reckless and wanton disregard of the interests of the youth tribal members of APIA’s service population” and cited a “reckless indifference” to APIA members.

The multidistrict suit in April was able to survive most of the claims against Juul and Altria, including the anti-racketeering allegations.

Law360: https://www.law360.com/cases/60bf49b23655b5025da77742

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