Lawyers representing U.S. consumers who say they overpaid for Juul Labs’ e-cigarettes on Dec. 6 urged a federal judge to certify their claims as a class action, reports Reuters. Juul argues that the plaintiffs should proceed individually because they bought Juul products under differing circumstances.
More than 2,800 cases have been consolidated in the multidistrict litigation against Juul, its largest shareholder Altria Group and several individual officers and directors. They include both personal injury claims and claims of economic loss by people who say they would have paid less, or not bought the e-cigarettes at all, if Juul had not downplayed their addictiveness and appealed to teenagers through social media campaigns and other means.
The plaintiffs are seeking partial refunds for adult purchasers and full refunds for underage purchasers.
Gregory Stone of Munger, Tolles & Olson, representing Juul, said the plaintiffs’ case rested on whether Juul’s marketing was misleading, whether it targeted teenagers, whether buyers were actually misled and whether the marketing affected their buying decisions.
In a tentative opinion, U.S. District Judge William Orrick said that he was inclined to grant class certification.