California Northern District Judge William H. Orrick filed an order granting a motion by Juul Labs Inc. last Thursday to dismiss many cases in the consolidated Juul marketing lawsuit with prejudice, which had previously been dismissed without prejudice. Juul argued that because the plaintiffs had failed to submit the required discovery they should not be able to re-submit their claims against the company.
The plaintiffs in the large multi-district litigation matter generally purported that illegal marketing practices from Juul led to consumers thinking its products were less harmful to their health than they actually were in order to convince more people to purchase the company’s products.
Thursday’s order applies to 84 plaintiffs, who were each listed on an attached exhibit. Each of the cases had a motion to convert the dismissal without prejudice to one with prejudice filed by the defendants between November 24 and December 3, 2020. The plaintiffs included individuals who purchased and used Juul’s products, minor children who used Juul products, and guardians or others related to those minor children.
Juul argued in its motions for a dismissal with prejudice that the plaintiffs were given a deadline to submit a Plaintiff Fact Sheet to vacate the dismissal without prejudice, but alleged that none of those listed filed the fact sheet. Reportedly, the court previously ordered that no response to the dismissal within the given time period would leave the plaintiffs “subject to dismissal with prejudice upon a motion to convert the order of dismissal … by Juul Labs.”
The defendant claimed that this dismissal with prejudice is permitted as a way of allowing the court to “manage its dockets ‘without being subject to endless non-compliance with case management orders,’ which is amplified in the (multidistrict litigation) context,” specifically within a multidistrict litigation matter which includes such a significant amount of individual lawsuits.
Juul further reported that not filing the form hinders the investigation and its defense preparation against the plaintiffs. The company claimed that the “unreasonable delay” from the 84 plaintiffs affected by the order would delay the lawsuit and cause it to be prejudiced against the defendant if their claims were allowed to continue.