18-year-old claims vaping led to nicotine addiction, hospitalization
NEWARK, N.J. – A New Jersey teenager is suing the makers of the Juul e-cigarette in federal court, claiming that the pervasive social media marketing of the popular device led to his nicotine addiction, hospitalization and serious health problems.
According to the filing, 18-year-old Matthew Divello of Medford, about 20 miles east of Philadelphia, began using Juul devices in early 2017 while a junior in high school. In just the past 18 months, he has suffered behavioral and cognitive problems, declining academic status, and was hospitalized for three days in August.
During his hospitalization Mr. Divello battled fever, nausea, and severe vomiting, all symptoms tied to high levels of nicotine. The lawsuit notes that this exposure leads to lifelong risks for heart disease, stroke, cancer and depression, as well as long-term treatment for such conditions.
“Matthew’s health has been put at risk by a company that simply didn’t care about the welfare of its key targets, the teenagers of America,” said Mark Lanier of The Lanier Law Firm in Houston. “Juul clearly was only concerned about sales and marketing, not safety and warnings. The result was a dangerous, pervasive product that quickly met its goal of getting young people addicted to nicotine.”
Mr. Lanier is consistently recognized as one of the top trial lawyers in the nation, having secured precedent-setting jury awards for people harmed by dangerous drugs, medical devices and consumer products. One example is last year’s $4.69 billion verdict against the makers of Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower.
At the time Mr. Divello began using Juul products there were no warnings about nicotine or the risks of nicotine addiction anywhere on the product’s packaging. Studies have shown that e-cigarettes, initially marketed in flavors such as fruit medley and crème brulee, contain three times more nicotine than a pack of cigarettes marketed to adults.
The case is Matthew Divello v. Juul Labs, Case No. 2:19-cv-16915, in U.S. District Court, Newark Division, for the District of New Jersey.
For more than 30 years, the men and women at the Lanier Law Firm have worked tirelessly, throughout the United States, to find unique and effective solutions for its clients. More than 60 skilled attorneys practice law in a broad array of areas, including commercial litigation, asbestos exposure and contamination, personal injury, business fraud, among others. Named an Elite Trial Law Firm by The National Law Journal, the Lanier Law Firm has offices in Houston, New York, Los Angeles and Oklahoma City.