Illnesses linked to JUUL and other e-cigarettes have led to thousands of lawsuits over the safety and marketing of these vaping products. If you're considering a legal claim over health problems related to your use of JUUL/e-cigarettes, an initial concern might be whether or not you'll need to testify as part of the case. The short answer is probably yes. But when and where?
There are usually two potential times when a plaintiff (the person filing a JUUL lawsuit) will need to testify. The first is during discovery, when the defendant (typically a company like Juul Labs Inc. or some other manufacturer of a vaping product) asks to take the plaintiff's deposition. The second potential setting for the plaintiff's testimony is during trial.
A deposition is a question-and-answer session in which a person (whether a party to a lawsuit or a witness) answers questions under oath. In case over the safety of an e-cigarette product, the defendant (usually through a team of attorneys) will want to take a plaintiff's deposition for a number of reasons, including:
Most JUUL/vaping illness cases reach a settlement, so it's rare for these lawsuits to reach the trial stage. And while a plaintiff is not legally required to testify at trial, it's usually expected. When a plaintiff doesn't take the witness stand and testify, the judge or jury deciding the case might assume there's a weakness in the evidence, or that there's something the plaintiff is trying to hide.
But more importantly, a plaintiff's testimony can be very compelling, especially to a juror. Almost no other piece of evidence from the plaintiff can convey the extent of the harm and other losses the plaintiff has experienced.
It's likely that the plaintiff will at least need to testify in a deposition. As mentioned above, most e-cigarette/vaping cases reach settlement, but it's rare for any kind of resolution to take place before the two sides go through the information-gathering "discovery" process. A key tool in this process is the deposition. At a minimum, it will give the defendant an idea of what to expect from the plaintiff should they testify at trial.
While the plaintiff's deposition might not be as important as certain others—expert witness testimony typically looms largest in a JUUL/vaping case—the defendant will want the opportunity to ask the plaintiff about a number of details related to the case, especially if the drug manufacturer believes that:
The likelihood of a plaintiff testifying at trial is much lower, simply because there's little chance of a trial actually taking place. But when a JUUL case does make it all the way to trial, the plaintiff's testimony will only improve his or her chances of winning, since:
If you're thinking about filing a lawsuit over health problems that could be related to your use of a vaping product like JUUL, a lawyer can help you develop the best strategy for your case. Learn more about finding the right attorney for your JUUL case and how your lawyer will be paid.