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article imageFormer Juul executive alleges company shipped contaminated pods

By Karen Graham     Oct 30, 2019 in Business
San Francisco - A former Juul executive is alleging in a lawsuit filed on Tuesday that the San Francisco-based company sold tainted pods to customers and retailers. He claims he was fired for bringing up his concerns,
The lawsuit was filed Tuesday by Siddharth Breja, a former senior vice president of global finance who worked at the San Francisco–based company from May 2018 to March 2019, reports BuzzFeed News.
In the lawsuit — filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California on the same day that Juul confirmed its plans to lay off about 500 people - Breja claims he was retaliated against for raising concerns about the contaminated shipment.
The company also announced the departure of four executives, including chief financial officer Tim Danaher. Juul is currently under scrutiny by the Food and Drug Administration, which claims the startup made misleading statements about its product and targeting of teens.
In the lawsuit, Breja claims that he raised concerns about the contamination of Juul's "mint refill kits." He says he also voiced concerns over the company selling expired products in meetings with senior management, according to CBS News correspondent Anna Werner
According to the lawsuit, then-CEO Kevin Burns responded to those concerns saying: "Half our customers are drunk and vaping like mo-fo's, who the f*** is going to notice the quality of our pods?"
A flavor multipack for the Juul vaping device. Sweet-flavored electronic cigarettes promote youth va...
A flavor multipack for the Juul vaping device. Sweet-flavored electronic cigarettes promote youth vaping.
Burns stepped down from Juul in September, according to Digital Journal. However, Burns told "CBS This Morning" co-host Tony Dokoupil in August the company's products are safe.
In the lawsuit, Breja claims that during a meeting on March 12, he learned a contaminated batch of mint e-liquid was used to make 250,000 refill kits, or a total of one million pods, that had already been shipped to retailers.
Breja alleges that he was told a recall and health notice would cost the company billions of dollars in lost sales, hurting its then-$38 billion valuation. About a week later - he was fired, according to Tech Crunch.
In an email, a Juul spokesperson said “Mr. Breja’s claims are baseless. He was terminated in March 2019 because he failed to demonstrate the leadership qualities needed in his role. The allegations concerning safety issues with Juul products are equally meritless, and we already investigated the underlying manufacturing issue and determined the product met all applicable specifications. The company will vigorously defend this lawsuit.”
It must be noted that the lawsuit against Juul has no bearing on the 1,600 vaping-related illnesses and 34 deaths reported nationwide. Most of those cases involved vaping with THC or both THC and nicotine.
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