A judge from the Colorado Supreme Court that four executives at electronic cigarette maker Juul Labs cannot be personally sued in Colorado for their company’s allegedly illegal marketing practices, the state Supreme Court ruled Monday.
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Juul founders Adam Bowen and James Monsees and board members Nicholas Pritzker and Riaz Valani did not take enough action in Colorado or target Colorado residents to be subject to personal liability in the Colorado’s civil courts, six of the Colorado’s Supreme Court justices ruled Monday. The seventh justice did not participate in the decision.
The ruling comes after Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser sued Juul Labs in 2020, alleging the company — and in a later amended complaint, the four executives in particular — violated state law by marketing their products to youth and deceiving consumers about product ingredients and health risk.
But the Colorado Supreme Court found that the state failed to show that the executives “were primary participants in wrongful conduct that they personally directed at Colorado, or that the injuries alleged in the amended complaint arose out of or related to defendants’ Colorado-directed activities.”
“The state alleges no facts supporting a conclusion that any of the defendants expressly aimed their conduct at Colorado,” Justice Richard Gabriel wrote in the 39-page opinion.
The justices said the opinion should not be construed to mean people cannot be sued in Colorado unless they physically conduct business in the state.