As Juul Labs Comes Under Criminal Probe, Trump Labor Secretary Nominee Eugene Scalia Should Explain His Legal Work Arguing Safeguards For the E-Cigarette Industry Could “Endanger Public Health”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In the wake of revelations that Juul Labs Inc. may be facing a criminal investigation from federal prosecutors in California, consumer advocacy group Allied Progress called on the Senate HELP committee to delay its scheduled vote tomorrow on Eugene Scalia’s nomination for U.S. Labor Secretary until Scalia fully and publicly explains the extent of his work on behalf on the e-cigarette company, and why he saw fit to argue that regulation of the industry could “endanger public health.” See background below.

“Eugene Scalia has an obligation to tell prosecutors and the American people how he helped the company in their battle against health and safety advocates,” said Derek Martin, Director of consumer watchdog Allied Progress. Martin continued, “Scalia’s confirmation process has been rushed by Republicans to try and prevent scrutiny of his record. As someone seeking a position of public trust, Scalia should address his relationship with Juul Labs publicly before any vote on moving his nomination forward.”

Added Martin: “If defending the E-cigarette industry in the face of serious public health concerns was as easy as breathing for Scalia, it’s hard to imagine a corporate client he’d consider too problematic to represent. His whole career he’s been a fierce advocate for big business: why should we expect that to change if he became Labor Secretary?”

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: 

Eugene Scalia Has Advocated On Behalf Of Juul Labs Against Proper Regulation of E-Cigarettes, Saying That Regulations For The Industry Could “Endanger Public Health.”

Eugene Scalia Has Done Legal Work For Juul Labs As It Fought Against State Investigations Regarding Underage Use Of Their E-Cigarettes.

Eugene Scalia Has Done Legal Work For Juul Labs Amidst State Investigations Regarding Its Efforts To Stem Its E-Cigarette Use Among Underage Teenagers.  

Eugene Scalia Has Earned More Than $5,000 Providing “Legal Services” For Juul Labs. [Eugene Scalia, OGE Form 278e, 08/27/19]

Multiple State Attorneys General Have Begun Investigating Juul Labs’ Potential Promotion Of Its E-Cigarettes To Underage Teenagers. “E-cigarette giant Juul Labs is facing a mounting number of state and federal investigations into its marketing and sales practices, as a top Trump administration official pledged Friday to use all of the government’s regulatory and enforcement power ‘to stop the epidemic of youth e-cigarette use.’ The Associated Press has learned that the attorneys general in Illinois and the District of Columbia are examining how Juul’s blockbuster vaping device became so popular with underage teens..” [Richard Lardner and Matthew Perrone, “Juul Labs facing scrutiny from federal and state officials,” The Washington Post, 08/30/19]

Scalia’s Law Firm, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, Has Represented Juul Labs In Multiple Federal Court Cases Since At Least Mid-2018.

Since June 2018, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher Has Represented Juul Labs In A Class Action Lawsuit Originally Filed In April 2018.

In June 2018, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher “Sought To Counter” Claims In A Class Action Lawsuit That Juul Labs “Secretly Design[ed] A Highly Addictive Product And Hook[ed] Teens With ‘Cool’ Ads And Candy-Like Flavors.” “A federal judge said Wednesday he will advance a class action accusing e-cigarette maker Juul Labs of building a multimillion-dollar electronic-cigarette empire by secretly designing a highly addictive product and hooking teens with ‘cool’ ads and candy-like flavors. […] On Wednesday, Juul’s attorney Austin Schwing, of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, sought to counter those claims by arguing restrictions on commercial speech must be narrowly tailored to achieve the desired objective.” [Helen Christophi, “E-Cigarette Maker Juul Can’t Duck Federal Class Action,” Courthouse News Service, 06/12/19]

In July 2018, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher Appeared On Court Papers For Juul Labs In A Class Action Lawsuit Filed By Bradley Colgate In The United States District Court For The Northern District of California. [Bradley Colgate et. al. v. Juul Labs, Inc., Case No. 18-cv-02499-WHO]

[Bradley Colgate et. al. v. Juul Labs, Inc., Case No. 18-cv-02499-WHO]

In November 2018, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher Represented Juul Labs On Temporary Basis In A Separate Case In The Southern District Of Florida.

In November 2018, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher Represented Juul Labs, Inc In A Lawsuit Filed By Sabrina Zampa In The United States District Court For The Southern District Of Florida. [Sabrina Zampa v. Juul Labs, Inc., Case No. 1:18-cv-25005-KMW]

[Sabrina Zampa v. Juul Labs, Inc, Case No. 1:18-cv-25005-KMW]

In June 2019, Eugene Scalia Signed An Amicus Brief On Behalf Of Juul Labs Defending The E-Cigarette Industry — The Filing Claimed Regulation Of The Products Would Risk “Destroying The Multibillion Dollar ENDS [Electronic Nicotine Delivery System] Industry
And That “Wiping Out That Industry Would Endanger Public Health.”

Eugene Scalia, On Behalf Of Juul Labs, Signed A June 2019 Amicus Brief Defending The E-Cigarette Industry Against The American Academy Of Pediatrics, The American Heart Association, And The American Lung Association’s Push For Proper Regulation of E-Cigarettes.

Eugene Scalia Was Featured First And Foremost In An Amicus Brief Defending The Interests Of Juul Labs And The E-Cigarette Industry In A Lawsuit From The American Academy Of Pediatrics, American Heart Association, And American Lung Association. 

[Brief of Amici Curiae of John Middleton, Co. et. al., American Academy of Pediatrics v. Food and Drug Administration, 06/12/19]

Major Public Health Groups, Including The American Heart Association And American Lung Association, Sued The Food And Drug Administration After It Allowed E-Cigarettes “To Stay On The Market For Years Without Being Reviewed By The Agency.” “The American Academy of Pediatrics and its Maryland chapter, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Truth Initiative and five individual pediatricians filed suit in federal court in Maryland challenging a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decision that allows electronic cigarettes and cigars – including candy-flavored products that appeal to kids – to stay on the market for years without being reviewed by the agency.” [“American Academy of Pediatrics, et al. v. Food and Drug Administration,” Democracy Forward, accessed 09/11/19]

Eugene Scalia’s Brief Claimed That The Health Organizations’ Lawsuit Would Risk “Destroying The Multibillion Dollar ENDS [Electronic Nicotine Delivery System] Industry” And That “Wiping Out That Industry Would Endanger Public Health.”

Eugene Scalia’s Amicus Brief Claims That Public Health Group Efforts To Better Regulate E-Cigarettes Would Risk “Destroying The Multibillion-Dollar ENDS [Electronic Nicotine Delivery System] Industry.” “Plaintiffs’ Proposal Would Devastate Industry and Jeopardize Public Health […] Plaintiffs’ abrupt timetable would risk forcing ENDS products off the market and destroying the multibillion-dollar ENDS industry.” [Brief of Amici Curiae of John Middleton, Co. et. al., American Academy of Pediatrics v. Food and Drug Administration, 06/12/19]

Eugene Scalia’s Amicus Brief Argued That “Wiping Out That Industry Would Endanger Public Health.” “Wiping out that industry would endanger public health, risking a significant reversal in the historic downward trend of cancer-causing cigarette consumption. Many of the roughly 14 million ENDS users have switched, or are transitioning, from very harmful cigarettes to ENDS products.” [Brief of Amici Curiae of John Middleton, Co. et. al., American Academy of Pediatrics v. Food and Drug Administration, 06/12/19]

Recently, Juul Labs Has Been Trying To Deflect Blame For An “‘Epidemic’” Of Life-Threatening Illnesses Among E-Cigarette Users.

Juul Labs Has Attracted Greater Scrutiny After An “‘Epidemic’” Of “Mysterious And Life-Threatening Illnesses” Has Afflicted Hundreds Of E-Cigarette Users.

 An “‘Epidemic’” Of “Mysterious And Life-Threatening Vaping-Related Illnesses” Has Spread Among E-Cigarette Users. “Dr. Pirzada is one of the many physicians across the country treating patients — now totaling more than 215 — with mysterious and life-threatening vaping-related illnesses this summer. The outbreak is ‘becoming an epidemic,’ she said. ‘Something is very wrong.’” [Sheila Kaplan and Matt Richtel, “The Mysterious Vaping Illness That’s ‘Becoming an Epidemic,’” The New York Times, 08/31/19]

E-Cigarette Users Are Experiencing Severe Breathing Symptoms And “Some Have Wound Up In The Intensive Care Unit Or On A Ventilator For Weeks.” “Patients, mostly otherwise healthy and in their late teens and 20s, are showing up with severe shortness of breath, often after suffering for several days with vomiting, fever and fatigue. Some have wound up in the intensive care unit or on a ventilator for weeks. Treatment has been complicated by patients’ lack of knowledge — and sometimes outright denial — about the actual substances they might have used or inhaled.” [Sheila Kaplan and Matt Richtel, “The Mysterious Vaping Illness That’s ‘Becoming an Epidemic,’” The New York Times, 08/31/19]

Juul’s Chief Executive Has Tried To Deflect Responsibility As Industry Lobbyists Are “Scrambling To Blame Unregulated Products.”

The Illnesses Have Drawn Greater Scrutiny On Juul Labs As The Company’s Chief Executive Has Denied Responsibility. “The spate of illnesses has made news again of Juul Labs, maker of the blockbuster e-cigarette device blamed for the surge in teenage vaping. In a television interview, Kevin Burns, the company’s chief executive, said he did not know of evidence linking the recent cases to Juul’s products.” [Sheila Kaplan and Matt Richtel, “The Mysterious Vaping Illness That’s ‘Becoming an Epidemic,’” The New York Times, 08/31/19]

“Some Subset” Of E-Cigarette Products “Is Causing A Serious Lung Disease” That Regular Cigarette Users Have Not Experienced, And Industry Lobbyists And Officials Are “Scrambling To Blame Unregulated Products. “Now some subset of these products is causing a serious lung disease that even cigarettes, while lethal in the long run, don’t cause in young people. Lobbyists and company officials in both industries are scrambling to blame unregulated products.” [Sheila Kaplan and Matt Richtel, “The Mysterious Vaping Illness That’s ‘Becoming an Epidemic,’” The New York Times, 08/31/19]

Health Investigators Suspect That “Heavy E-Cigarette Use” Or A Tainted Supply Chain Has Contributed To The “‘Epidemic.’”

Health Investigators Are Unsure If The Symptoms Are Caused By “Heavy E-Cigarette Use” Or A Toxin That “Has Sneaked Into The Supply Of Vaping Products.” “Health investigators are now trying to determine whether a particular toxin or substance has sneaked into the supply of vaping products, whether some people reused cartridges containing contaminants, or whether the risk stems from a broader behavior, like heavy e-cigarette use, vaping marijuana or a combination.” [Sheila Kaplan and Matt Richtel, “The Mysterious Vaping Illness That’s ‘Becoming an Epidemic,’” The New York Times, 08/31/19]

Federal Prosecutors Have Begun A “Criminal Probe” Into E-Cigarette Company Juul Labs, Inc., Which Has Already Confronted “Increasing Scrutiny” From Federal And State Authorities For Its Marketing Practices And Blame For A Rise In Teenage Vaping. 

Federal Prosecutors Have Begun A “Criminal Probe” Into Juul Labs, Inc. “Federal prosecutors in California are conducting a criminal probe into e-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc., according to people familiar with the matter, escalating law-enforcement scrutiny of the startup.” [Jennifer Maloney, “Federal Prosecutors Conducting Criminal Probe of Juul,” The Wall Street Journal, 09/23/19]

Previously, Juul Labs, Inc. Has Been Facing “Increasing Scrutiny” Federal And State Levels For Its Marketing Practices And Blame “For A Rise In Vaping Among Teenagers.” “Blamed for a rise in vaping among teenagers, the fast-growing company has come under increasing scrutiny by state and federal officials. The Federal Trade Commission, the Food and Drug Administration and several state attorneys general are investigating its marketing practices. The Trump administration said earlier this month that it planned to ban most flavored e-cigarettes.” [Jennifer Maloney, “Federal Prosecutors Conducting Criminal Probe of Juul,” The Wall Street Journal, 09/23/19]

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