More Juul executives flee the company as new allegations of contaminated pods from former executive surface in lawsuit
Tuesday, October 29, 2019, Dhillon Law filed a lawsuit on behalf of former Juul executive Siddharth Breja. The lawsuit is viewable in part via Axios here. Breja alleges that Juul intentionally sent at least “one million mint-flavored e-cigarette nicotine pods that it admits were contaminated,” to market.
Specifically, Breja alleges that Juul sold some batches of contaminated mint e-liquid for refill kits—about the equivalent of one million contaminated pods. Breja was concerned, particularly since reports of Juul vapers having seizures had surfaced.
Breja also alleges he was told to charge the supplier of the contaminated e-liquid $7 million extra. Soon after the company’s refusal to issue a recall or warning, Breja was fired.
Buzzfeed News broke this story, and at the time of this writing Juul had commented to neither Buzzfeed nor Axios. Both outlets contacted Juul for comment.
Juul in trouble
Other allegations include that Juul chief finance officer at that time, Tim Danaher, told Breha to be loyal to the company after he raised his concerns about the contaminated pods.
Former CEO Kevin Burns reacted to Breha’s recall or warning idea by remarking, “Half our customers are drunk and vaping like mo-fos, who the fuck is going to notice the quality of our pods.”
One week after raising the issue, Breha alleges he was fired. He is seeking damages for wrongful termination and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Juul is also facing a wrongful death lawsuit filed by a mother who claims Juul’s pods were a significant factor in her 18-year-old son’s death. In addition, the Los Angeles Unified School District has filed a lawsuit against Juul.
Juul has also announced a halt to online sales of flavored e-cigarette cartridges and cuts to around 500 jobs following its stop of all US advertising.
Meanwhile, like the rest of the industry, Juul is facing uncertainty from regulators. A Trump administration proposal would ban all flavored vape cartridges except tobacco. The CDC has warned the public against using e-cigarettes—despite the fact that only about 13 percent of cases of the “vaping illness” used nicotine vaping products alone.
Juul itself, however, is under particular stress. In addition to these lawsuits, an additional four executives have just left the company—the second major executive-level change in as many months.