British Columbia, Juul Labs Litigation to Proceed
The Supreme Court of British Columbia has dismissed an application from Altria Group to stay or dismiss proceedings against the company in a class action against Juul Labs, reports The Lawyer’s Daily. Altria owns 35 percent of Juul.
The claim alleges that Altria conspired with Juul in the sale of nicotine vaping devices, to youth in particular, with the goal “to convert them into smokers” in part through nicotine addiction.
The class action was initially filed in September 2019, shortly after Health Canada issued an advisory for vapers to “monitor themselves for symptoms of pulmonary illness … and to seek medical attention promptly if they have concerns about their health.”
“This is an important decision that ensures that Canadians are able to sue all the parties that they allege have harmed them,” said Daniel Bach, a partner in Siskinds, about the Supreme Court decision. “We look forward to litigating these issues against Altria on the merits.”
Juul has been pummeled by lawsuits and mounting restrictions on the production and sale of vaping products in recent years. The e-cigarette maker has suffered financially as a result.
Since 2019, Juul has halted all U.S. advertising, discontinued most of its flavors and attempted to rebrand itself as a product for older smokers who seek alternatives to cigarettes.
According to press reports, Juul has been preparing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
This was the second appeal by Altria in this class action that British Columbia courts have dismissed. In October 2021, the B.C. Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal to an order allowing cross-examination on its affidavits in the company’s jurisdictional challenge.