Siddharth Breja, former SVP of Finance at Juul, filed a multi-claim lawsuit against the company alleging that Juul sold contaminated liquid pods with total disregard for the “law, public safety, and public health.” Breja claims Juul sold 1 million of the mint-flavored, contaminated pods, as well as pods that were expired or nearly expired. He also claims he was fired as a whistleblower for warning against the “illegal” activity. The claims include:
Benson v. Coca Cola Co. is a workers’ compensation case decided in 1972 that is still good law today. This case stands for the proposition that if there is no demand upon the Employer to provide treatment, there is no liability for payment of same, unless the request by injured worker would have been futile.
In this case the injured worker, Mr. Benson, fell off of a tank tuck and injured his head, back, and neck. He went to the company clinic with significant complaints. The company doctor examines, took x-rays (negative), and prescribed heat, muscle relaxers, and pain meds.
The injured worker refused the treatment at the company clinic and failed to follow up the next day at the company clinic as prescribed.
To date, the CDC has reported over 1200 cases of rapid onset “Vape Lung” disease, including over 26 deaths. While the exact cause is not yet identified, all cases are linked vaping.
The outbreak inspired several states to institute restrictive bans on the sale of e-cigarettes, including a full ban by Massachusetts (recently overturned by the courts).
It is important to keep focused on those being injured by vape products during this interminable FDA paralysis period.
Which State has jurisdiction (legal authority) to address a work related injury is a question that comes up often in our practice. This is particularly common because we live in an area of the country where workers frequently live in one state and work in another.
In a recent case Marconi v. United Airlines, the Appellate Division court in New Jersey addressed an issue where the injured worker, Mr. Marconi, lived in New Jersey and was injured while working for United Airlines in Philadelphia. He filed two workers’ compensation cases in New Jersey, and the employer disputed that New Jersey had jurisdiction over the claims. The facts showed that Mr. Marconi was hired by United Airlines in San Francisco, lived continuously in New Jersey throughout his employment, and was transferred to work in Philadelphia. During the time Mr. Marconi worked in Philadelphia, his supervisor worked out of the Newark Airport. Mr. Marconi would call United staff at the Newark Airport hub for technical advice, but he never worked in Newark himself. He had received training all over the world, including the Newark Airport hub.
While the FDA continues to do nothing to protect consumers from the health risks associated with vaping, the States of America are exercising their independent powers to protect their residents. Their actions are in response to the CDC’s recent report of over 1200 cases of rapid-onset lung disease caused by vaping, including over 26 deaths. The youngest victim was a 17-year-old boy in New York.
On October 1st, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 1080 cases of Vape Lung Disease, including 18 deaths. Many of these cases, some claim up to 80%, are suspected to be related to cannabis vaping products. Just like the nicotine e-cigarette industry, the liquids and chemicals in cannabis vape products are not regulated. Some health organizations suggest that the chemicals in vaping liquids combined with unknown chemicals added to cannabis products may be at the heart of the increase in illnesses in cannabis users. Others attribute the disease to e-cigarette/vape product designs that use high heat levels to “vape” liquids. The high heat vaping process creates unusual chemical reactions that may cause damage to lungs. In terms of cannabis products, it’s likely a double-whammy because the cannabis industry has historically operated in illegal settings with zero oversight and a fair number of bad actors, i.e., people who grow or lace products with unknown chemicals.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that over 1,000 people became ill from vaping e-cigarettes, including 18 deaths. Now, research by the Mayo Clinic of Arizona suggests the lung damage may be the result of chemical burns.
The CDC announced that 77% of the injured vapers were using e-cigarettes with tobacco and THC products, and 17% were using only nicotine. The CDC partnered with state-based health care services and research hospitals to try to determine the cause of the recent spike in vaping lung damage cases.
If you were surprised to hear that Juul’s CEO, Kevin Burns, publicly told people not to vape or use his products, you were not alone. It is quite rare for a company to recommend against supporting its profit margins. This is especially true for a company that has been under intense scrutiny for predatory marketing practices and a link to the meteoric rise of teen e-cigarette use. It begs the question, “Why?” Why is Juul so suddenly changing its spots? Could Juul truly and authentically have morphed into an ambassador of health and wellness?
In yet another example of U.S. states and localities filling the empty shoes of the FDA, Michigan has banned all e-cigarette flavors within its borders. Gretchen Whitmer, Governor of Michigan, made a public statement as follows, “My number one priority is keeping our kids safe. Right now, companies selling vaping products are using candy flavors to hook children on nicotine and misleading claims to promote the belief that these products are safe. That ends today.”
In response to a spate of chemical pneumonia cases that hospitalized 16 people, the city of Milwaukee advised all of its residents to “Stop Vaping Immediately.” All 16 patients reported vaping or dabbing (with THC) prior to symptoms that required hospitalization.
The CDC has also issued an advisory warning because the Wisconsin incidents are part of nationwide outbreak of a mysterious lung illness associated with vaping. According to the CDC, as of Sept. 6, 2019, there were over 450 reported cases of vape-related aberrant pneumonias and lung conditions, with at least 5 deaths. According to reports, most of the patients are young, and were healthy prior to hospitalization.