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On January 23, a lawsuit filed by NJOY against dozens of disposable vape manufacturers, distributors and retailers was dismissed in the federal district court in California. NJOY is a subsidiary of American tobacco company Altria. But, the court did not dismiss the lawsuit against IMiracle, the vape manufacturer of ELFBAR.
And it calls for a nationwide ban to prevent future imports and sales of these products. It also demands compensatory and punitive damages to NJOY.
The companies charged include vape manufacturers and distributors. These include Breeze, ELFBAR, Esco Bar, Flum, Juice Box, Lava Plus, Loon, Lost Mary, Mr. Fog and Puff Bar brands. Together, these brands account for the majority of the U.S. disposable vape market.
Judge Terry J. Hatter Jr. of the Federal District Court for the Central District of California signed the dismissal order on January 18. The court found that the defendants were not involved in “the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences.” So they are wrongfully included in the proceedings. Thus, Judge Hart removed all parties from the proceedings except the first defendant, IMiracle.
It is understood that NJOY was once a pioneer in the independent vape industry. It is now the vape subsidiary of Altria, the U.S. maker of Marlboro cigarettes. The tobacco company acquired NJOY last year for $2.75 billion. It previously gave up its 35% stake in Juul Labs. The two vape devices selling by NJOY are two of the six devices currently authorized by the U.S. FDA.
This means that NJOY can refile lawsuits against the removed defendants. Possibly it may lawsuits the defendant individually or as a group of related parties. The court also dismissed NJOY’s claim of unfair competition and its motion for a preliminary injunction barring sales and distribution by the defendants.
As for IMiracle, the Hong Kong-based ELF BAR manufacturer, the court denied NJOY’s motion to serve the company by email. The Court noted that there is an established international procedure (the Hague Convention) for serving legal notices on foreign defendants. Next, NJOY’s lawsuit against Imiracle is still valid. IMiracle will not be able to proceed with the proceedings until it receives formal notice from the court.