SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – A lawsuit has been filed against San Francisco-based Juul Labs by the family of an 18-year-old who died last year, claiming the company’s vaping products played a significant role in his death.
According to Bloomberg Law, the family of Daniel David Wakefield filed the suit, in what is reportedly the first wrongful death lawsuit against the company.
The legal complaint said the teenager from Florida became “intensely addicted” to Juul’s products after first hearing about them in 2015. Within a year of vaping, Wakefield suffered severe mood swings and his performance in school declined. He was also hospitalized for three days due to breathing and lung complications.
Wakefield continued to use Juul products after his hospitalization and was “adamant” that the product did not pose health risks, the complaint said. On August 30, 2018, Wakefield was found dead at his father’s home following a day that included helping his mother move boxes, with his death being attributed to “breathing complications.”
Lisa Marie Vail, the teen’s mother, filed the lawsuit Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Vail is seeking compensatory, punitive and other damages.
Juul did not respond to Bloomberg’s request for comment.
The lawsuit comes amid increasing scrutiny from federal, state and local officials against Juul amid a surge in e-cigarette use among teenagers, along with reported lung injuries and deaths among users of marijuana and nicotine vaping devices. Health officials have not definitively linked any specific substance or products to the illnesses.