Westmoreland woman’s suit links Juul use to seizures | TribLIVE.com

Westmoreland woman’s suit links Juul use to seizures

Jeff Himler

A Westmoreland County woman is suing the makers of Juul electronic cigarettes, claiming she suffered two seizures and impairment after using the device earlier this year.

The complaint, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh, states that Kimberly Mays, a mother of two, suffered “catastrophic personal injuries” and is “now in a state of dependency — relying on others to care for her.”

The suit charges that JUUL Labs, based in San Francisco, and Altria Group of Richmond, Va., that has an ownership interest in JUUL, failed to warn Mays of the dangers associated with the vaping product, were negligent and made misrepresentations about the product.

Mays suffered an initial seizure in June and a second in July, in each case less than a half-hour after using a Juul vaping device, the complaint states. In each case, she required hospitalization.

After the second episode, Mays stopped using the device but suffered multiple seizures, short-term memory loss, mood shifts and “permanent altering of her brain,” the suit claims.

The suit also accuses the defendants of violating the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law.

Filed by the Pittsburgh firm of Shenderovich, Shenderovich and Fishman, the suit seeks punitive damages as well as tripling any statutory damages.

Messages seeking comment left at JUUL’s San Francisco headquarters Thursday and Friday weren’t immediately returned.

Mays’ attorney, Craig Fishman, said the case appears to be the first federal suit filed against JUUL in the Western District of Pennsylvania.

He said it likely will join similar complaints against the company that are being transferred to the federal district court that has jurisdiction over San Francisco.

The United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on Wednesday issued an order transferring 20 civil suits filed against JUUL in multiple states for adjudication in the Northern District of California. The order does not specifically refer to Mays’ case but notes there are more than 40 potentially-related suits that could be “tag-along actions.”

“We’re alleging manipulation of the nicotine concentration, making it more addictive, and misrepesentation of the addictive potential and the nicotine concentration in the cigarette, which was all part of the (transfer) that was recently approved,” Fishman said.

The Federal Trade Commission announced Thursday it has issued orders to six e-cigarette manufacturers, including JUUL Labs, seeking information for studying the companies’ sales, advertising, and promotional methods.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter .

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.