Attorney General Ellison: FDA ordering all JUUL products off the market 'does not impede State's litigation'
‘We continue to prepare for trial’ scheduled for March 2023
July 7, 2022
JULY 6, 2022 (SAINT PAUL) — On June 23, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a marketing denial order to JUUL Labs for all products currently marketed in the United States, effectively ordering JUUL products off the market. In response, JUUL sought and received a temporary administrative stay of the marketing denial order from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit while it reviews the FDA decision. On July 5, 2022, the FDA administratively stayed the marketing denial order, noting “there are scientific issues unique to the JUUL application that warrant additional review.”
According to Attorney General Ellison, “While we monitor the impact of the FDA decision and the D.C. Circuit’s review, those events will not impede the State of Minnesota’s litigation against Juul and Altria. We continue to prepare for trial. The FDA decision only reinforces the State’s allegations in our complaint against JUUL and Altria, challenging the risks that the two companies created for the State’s youth and the harms they inflicted.”
Trial in the case is set to begin on March 27, 2023 in Hennepin County District Court. Minnesota is the next state scheduled to go to trial of the 13 states that have sued JUUL. The State previously defeated Altria’s Motions to Dismiss and recently submitted its expert reports, showing the basis of liability for both JUUL and Altria and the significant damages owed to the State based upon the companies’ unlawful conduct.
In its complaint — initially filed in December 2019 and amended in December 2020 to include Altria as a defendant — the State alleges that JUUL, whose rise to dominance in the e-cigarette market is directly correlated with the well-documented massive increase in e-cigarette use among youth, played a central role in the youth vaping epidemic. By 2018, JUUL had collaborated with tobacco conglomerate Altria Group, Inc. to extend the reach of its products, especially to youth. The complaint alleges that youth e-cigarette use was neither benign nor short term; during the litigation, the State has amassed evidence showing that:
• Young adult e-cigarette users are three times more likely to become cigarette smokers;
• Nicotine exposure can cause adolescents to engage in addictive and impulsive behavior; and
• JUUL designed its products and the nicotine in its products in a manner that made it more attractive to youth.
As Attorney General Ellison said in filing the amended complaint, “We in Minnesota have a special responsibility to lead the way in fighting this harm to our children. More than 20 years ago, Minnesota led the nation in taking on Big Tobacco and winning a settlement that led to historic declines in tobacco use and historic improvements in Americans’ health. Minnesota is carrying forward that legacy and taking yet another stand for protecting consumers and the health of our children.”