SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (Legal Newsline) – A Missouri woman alleges her teenage son became addicted to using JUUL e-cigarette products because JUUL makers misled and defrauded minors about the attributes and health benefits of using the product.
Chasity Phillips, individually and as guardian of her minor child, A.P. and on behalf of herself and those similarly situated, filed a complaint Aug. 21 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri against Juul Labs Inc. and Altria Group Inc., alleging violation of Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act, failure to warn, design defect, negligence, unjust enrichment, violation of the Missouri Merchandising Practice Act, negligent misrepresentation and fraudulent misrepresentation.
The plaintiff alleges that A.P., then 16, had never smoked cigarettes prior to trying JUUL e-cigarettes and was not previously addicted to nicotine. The suit states A.P. was attracted to fruit-flavored JUULpods and became interested in watching YouTube videos depicting individuals using JUUL to do tricks with the vapor produced by the devices. A.P. allegedly was unaware that the product had dangerous levels of nicotine and was not safe to use.
The plaintiff alleges she initially did not realize that A.P. had become addicted to nicotine until she attempted to take the JUUL away. Upon removing the JUUL from A.P.'s possession, he began to suffer from severe withdrawal symptoms and developed anxiety as a result of the removal of the JUUL, the suit states.
The plaintiff alleges that the defendants are actively working with others to market JUUL to minors and that A.P. would not have become addicted but for the defendants' actions. She alleges A.P. "thought JUUL was harmless and fun - just as social media portrayed it."
The plaintiff is seeking compensatory damages, attorneys' fees, costs, and just relief. The plaintiff is represented by Thomas P. Cartmell, Jonathan P. Kieffer and Tyler W. Hudson of Wagstaff & Cartmell LLP in Kansas City, Missouri.
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri case number 2:19-cv-04172