Tobacco giant Altria Group has been named as an additional defendant in a lawsuit against e-cigarette firm Juul Labs brought by Attorney General Keith Ellison of the U.S. state of Minnesota.
Altria and Juul are being sued, specifically, for deceptive marketing to youth in the state of Minnesota.
“When I see the harm like the one JUUL and Altria are perpetrating on Minnesotans — especially on our youth — I won’t sit back and let it happen,” Ellison said in a statement released December 10. “That’s why we sued JUUL last year and why we added Altria as a defendant in that lawsuit today.”
Ellison filed an initial lawsuit against Juul Labs on December 4, 2019. The attorney general’s office filed the lawsuit in Hennepin County District Court, further alleging that the company has violated multiple counts of state consumer-protection laws and breached its duty as a responsible corporate partner in protecting the public’s health. Instead, the lawsuit claims that the company has become a “public nuisance.”
Now, the lawsuit is expected to have new fervor since Altria was claimed as a defendant.
“We in Minnesota have a special responsibility to lead the way in fighting this harm to our children,” Ellison added in the same press statement. “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 led the country in developing the Master Settlement Agreement of 1998 against the five largest tobacco companies in the world for lying about the deadly nature of smoking cigarettes.
“Today, Minnesota is carrying forward that legacy and taking yet another stand for protecting consumers and the health of our children,” Ellison added.
This is a developing story. We will update you on further developments related to the litigation process.