FAULKNER COUNTY, Ark. — An attorney representing a Faulkner County teen, who is suing e-cigarette maker 'Juul Labs,' says the federal case will be consolidated with others and go before a judge in San Francisco.
The 14-year-old listed as John Doe claims, along with his mother, that Juul's products got him hooked on nicotine. They allege the leading vape manufacturer marketed to teens and lied about health hazards.
The mother and son are being represented by a St. Louis law firm that has landed big class action judgments against drug and medical device makers.
Kristine Kraft, a partner in Schlichter, Bogard, and Denton, asked us not to contact her clients for now.
With vaping-related deaths continuing to grow, Juul, as the tobacco-industry heavyweight, finds itself being sued all over the map.
Lawyers for Juul requested consolidation of the eight active pieces of litigation, with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multi-district Litigation sending the cases to the Northern District of California.
Judge William Orrick has already issued rulings on a couple cases, and has now been chosen to hear all of them at one time, including the case in Little Rock.
A key decision will be whether to declare this a class action. That would open up the case far beyond the one teen suing here.
The vaping cases could follow a similar path as recent opioid lawsuits. Individual states, like Oklahoma, have taken their shots at drug makers, but a major federal case is consolidated in Cleveland, Ohio.
In both the case of opioids and vaping, one judge could start some serious dominoes to fall across the country.