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Cases & Deals

September 20, 2017

K&S Obtains Dismissal With Prejudice In E-Cigarette Class Action

On September 20, 2017, Plaintiff Jerod Harris voluntarily dismissed with prejudice all claims asserted against R.J. Reynolds Vapor Company (“RJRV”) in a putative class action filed in the Northern District of California.  Mr. Harris’s lawsuit alleged that RJRV violated California’s Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”) and Consumer Legal Remedies Act (“CLRA”) because RJRV failed to disclose that its Vuse electronic cigarette product exposes users to harmful chemicals, including formaldehyde and acetaldehyde.  A K&S team filed a motion to dismiss Mr. Harris’s claims, arguing that they were controlled by California’s Proposition 65, which requires companies doing business in California to provide a “clear and reasonable” warning before “knowingly and intentionally” exposing consumers to a chemical known to the State to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity.  Judge James Donato agreed and granted RJRV’s motion to dismiss, but gave Mr. Harris an opportunity to re-plead facts outside the scope of Proposition 65.  Mr. Harris attempted to do so, and RJRV again moved to dismiss, arguing that the new factual allegations in Mr. Harris’s amended complaint were too cursory to state a claim for relief.  Once again, the Court agreed and granted the motion, finding that no consumer could “plausibly claim that RJRV misrepresented Vuse to consumers as risk free and safe.”  On September 20, 2017, Harris agreed to dismiss his claims with prejudice.