MIAMI — A federal judge will allow e-cigarette manufacturer Juul Labs to transfer a class action lawsuit from Florida court to California.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Edwin G. Torres, of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, decided that the plaintiff’s motion to transfer will be granted and that the action will be moved to the Northern District of California.
Sabrina Zampa, individually and as guardian of two minor children, and on behalf of those similarly situated, had filed a class action complaint April 23 in Miami federal court against Juul Labs Inc., formerly known as Pax Labs Inc.
Juul Labs is based in San Francisco and manufactures cigarette alternatives. A class action lawsuit was filed against the defendant on April 26, 2018, in the Northern District of California, and was made up of plaintiffs from a number of states.
The plaintiffs had 11 causes of action against the defendant, including: false advertising; violation of the Consumer Legal Remedies Act, fraud; deceptive trade practices; unjust enrichment; failure to warn; strict liability for a design defect and manufacturing defect; breach of implied and express warranty; and negligent misrepresentation.
Seven months after a consolidated action was filed, Zampa and the other plaintiffs filed their complaint Nov. 5, 2018, in the Miami-Dade County Circuit Court. The plaintiffs were seeking to represent all residents in Florida who were under the age of 18 when they used Juul products, as well as those minors' legal guardians, alleging they were deceived by the defendant for marketing a cigarette alternative as a safe, candy-like product that would attract minors, even though the products contain more nicotine than cigarettes.
Zampa and the plaintiffs served Juul Labs on Nov. 19, 2018, and the defendant filed a notice of removal 11 days later. Juul then filed a motion to transfer the case Dec. 19, 2018, and the plaintiff filed a motion to remand on Dec. 28, 2018, alleging lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
The burden was on the defendant to prove that the Northern District of California is a more convenient forum than Florida. The plaintiffs alleged the motion to transfer requires that the court establish the subject matter jurisdiction and that a motion to remand takes priority over a motion to transfer.
The judge sided with the defendants.
U.S. District Court Southern District of Florida case number 1:18-CV-25005