Via America’s LawyerMike Papantonio and Trial Lawyer Magazine editor Farron Cousins discuss how New York is the latest state to file a lawsuit against Juul alleging their marketing practices are directly responsible for fueling the teen vaping epidemic that has swept the country. Plus, a discussion about the two federal prison guards who were assigned to keep watch of Jeffrey Epstein the night of his death that have been indicted for neglecting a series of mandatory check-ups, then fabricating records to cover their tracks.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio:             Juul Labs is in trouble, as two massive new lawsuits have accused the company of marketing their products to teenagers to create a new generation of nicotine addicts. I have Farron Cousins from the trial lawyer magazine with me to talk about what’s happening. Farron, again and again, we see the same story, right? Industry comes in, they deny, they deny, they deny, they cover up, they destroy documents, they hide documents. All of a sudden, serious lawsuits are brought by governments. This company’s in big trouble right now.

Farron Cousins:                  Oh absolutely. And I love the way these lawsuits had been filed because this gives these attorneys general, the ability to go in there, go through these documents and find out what they were doing with the marketing materials because that’s where we really need to be looking right now. We know there are growing health issues that is being examined, but we need to find out the marketing and we know they’ve already pulled the, those candy flavorings off the market. But to me, that’s almost an admission that we knew this was candy flavored to attract the teenagers and now we’re going to be able to find out from their own documents if this was actually intentional, which it obviously was.

Mike Papantonio:             Let me tell you the flaw already, that’s developing here, it’s the same flaw that we see time and time again where the department of justice doesn’t do what they’re supposed to do. Okay, now let me, let me run a scenario by you. You have, you have CEOs, you have upward management of companies that have all the information telling them that people are dying from the use of the product and then they want to blame it, well, it’s THC. It’s something else that’s causing the injury when they know that the delivery system itself is part of the problem. Right? Now, if I, if I drink a half a bottle of Jack Daniels and I’d recklessly drive down a road recklessly, not intentionally, recklessly drive down a road and I kill somebody that at the very least is called manslaughter.

Now you and I have talked about this time and time again. When is it that corporate America is going to be held responsible for manslaughter? Because that’s what, that’s what we see here. It’s the same thing that we see time and time again in pharmaceutical cases. Give me your take on that. Why are we so resonant, why are we so, so reticent to say, you know, this is, this is murder? They, they knew what was happening to, give me your take on it.

Farron Cousins:                  I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that all these companies you’re talking about, not just Juul, but the big pharmaceutical companies, the oil companies, the chemical companies, they’re major political players. You know, we, we, we now glorify these CEOs and say, this is what everybody in this country should aspire to be. We’ve put them on such a pedestal that even when they do these things that we know from their own documents, they knew people were going to die. We don’t want to touch them because we still want to think that, no, these people are somehow better than everybody else. They’re also, behind everybody’s back, gonna fund my next political campaign. They’re going to give all this money to my political party and that’s going to help us in the future so we don’t want to touch them. We’ll fine the company, let them write that off in the end of the year, and then everybody thinks that we handled it, but we don’t.

Mike Papantonio:             Okay. And this story that you’ve done this story several times, you, you know this story. I, I opened up with this, with this case in Vegas at the last, the last big meeting that we had, and as I look at it, we know exactly who made the decisions. We can point this person made the decision for that on Juul. This person made the decision for that. We know what they knew when they made the decision. We know that the decisions were reckless. We know in that same recklessness is no different than me driving down the road drunk and killing somebody. Same level. No intent doesn’t even have to be intent. I don’t have to intend to kill somebody for manslaughter. I just have to kill, you know, somebody has to die. They, they understand the level of recklessness. They put it out there anyway after they know that people are already dying.

How does this not fall into manslaughter? I’ll tell you what, I want to do this. I want to look at the manslaughter statute and one of our next shows. I want to analyze the manslaughter statute that exists in most States and show how this is no different than a classic manslaughter. It’s no different Farron than a felony murder kind of thing where you don’t pull the trigger, but you’re there when the triggers pulled and people die because of it. I want to pick up with that story the next program. Two prison guards in New York had been arrested for falsifying reports on the night that Jeff Epstein died in his cell. You know, as this, as you look at this more and more, it’s, it’s pervasive in the prison system, isn’t it? But tell me, lay this story out. Who were these guys that didn’t do their job? Tell us the story.

Farron Cousins:                  You have these two guys and they were in charge of this entire block of prison cells the evening Epstein died. And basically the next morning they came in and the supervisor said, what happened? And the two guards said, listen, we didn’t do any checks on anybody. And so then they went back, almost back in time as it were, took the logs then wrote in that we did do the checks after they had told their supervisor they did not. So it was known they didn’t do the checks, but then they were allowed to go back in and change those logs to say that we did in fact do those checks. They sat there, they were looking on it, the internet. They were reading, they weren’t doing their job.

Mike Papantonio:             Eight hours.

Farron Cousins:                  Eight hours.

Mike Papantonio:             Eight hours, they failed to do any check. They’re supposed to do it on a regular system, specially after Epstein comes off a suicide watch. First of all, he never should have been back in that cell after the suicide.

Farron Cousins:                  Right, they didn’t even follow protocol on that. He was supposed to be evaluated by a mental health professional and cleared. They didn’t do this. There is nothing about this story that makes any sense. Even with this, I believe these two guys have become the new fall guys.

Mike Papantonio:             Well, let me, let me, let me talk about that in just a second. We, you know the, the union, the prison guard union is saying, oh gee, we’re understaffed. We can’t do this. You know, a thousand reasons why things are wrong in the prison system and there is no question that that’s true. But in this situation, none of that is relevant because these two people had a very specific job to do, doesn’t involve whether, they were there to do the job. Instead, they were sleeping on the job. They were surfing the internet, they were hanging out in some, in some rec room doing nothing rather than simply doing their job. Now they’re looking at potential five years in prison and you know, where it comes to falsifying records like that, if they’ll do it in a case like this, we’ve seen it. We’ve handled cases in this law firm where people have been, ended up dead in their cell and we’ve seen falsified records. So this, this is a problem they got to solve.

Farron Cousins:                  It, it is, but it also, again, it only raises more questions. If what they’re saying is true and yeah, we simply didn’t go do the checks and then we falsified the records. Okay, well that’s bad enough. You’re going to be punished for that. What else is happening here? Can we get these guys alone in an interrogation room and ask them the real questions? Did somebody tell you to say this? Did somebody tell you to falsify these records? I mean, I, I hate to go into that whole conspiracy.

Mike Papantonio:             Well, you’re not the only one.

Farron Cousins:                  But nothing about it is normal. Nothing about this is.

Mike Papantonio:             Well, you’re not, you’re not the only one raising those issues. I mean, sometimes you’ll hear some, you know, off the wall conspiracy notion, but this is coming from a lot of different angles. These, some of these questions being asked, and I know it all ties together in some form or fashion. But where I look at this story in particular, I really hate to hear the excuse, gee whiz, we’re overworked and understaffed, that, I get it. That probably is true, but it still doesn’t forgive that for eight hours these cats did nothing. Nothing, knowing it, he was a high risk. And the question was always out there. There are a lot of people that wanted to do this guy out.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             I mean, they wanted, they didn’t want to get rid of him.

Farron Cousins:                  Internationally.

Mike Papantonio:             Internationally. Exactly. And so I, I don’t know. I look at this story, I don’t buy into the union’s argument. Oh, these poor pitiful guys, they were just overworked. No, they weren’t. You’re there to do a job, do the job, go, at least go in eight hours, go check at least one time they checked nothing. Not one time in that eight hour span.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.