Judge Approves Settlement for JUUL Vaping Addiction Lawsuits

Final approval of the JUUL settlement is expected in July 2023, but details about the average amount of each vaping addiction payout have not been disclosed.

The U.S. District Judge presiding over all JUUL vaping addiction lawsuits has granted preliminary approval to a settlement agreement, which would resolve thousands of claims.

While details of the settlement have not been officially confirmed, various news outlets have reported conflicting information, which reportedly includes an agreement to pay $255 million to resolve class action claims, and some estimates suggest that another $1.5 billion may be paid to resolve remaining injury claims, including lawsuits filed by teens and young adults who alleged that they developed life-long nicotine addictions from the illegal marketing of JUUL toward children.

JUUL vape pens were introduced in 2015, with a design that appeared similar to USB drives, allowing teens to hide their vaping habit from parents and school officials. After JUUL Labs aggressively advertised a variety of fruity and sweet JUUL flavors through social media influencers, the e-cigarette quickly became the most widely used among teens through the U.S. over the past decade, and fueled a vaping epidemic in the U.S., which has resulted in costs for states nationwide.

Thousands of families and young adults have filed individual and class action JUUL lawsuits, alleging that the company’s actions left teens with a life-long nicotine addiction. Claims have also been brought by local school districts, which have been left with increased costs dealing with teen vaping problems in the United States.

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In the federal court system, all JUUL vaping addiction lawsuits filed against the company are currently consolidated before U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick III in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings.

The the first JUUL trials were expected to begin last year, to help gauge how juries are likely to respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be raised throughout the litigation over the company’s role in causing individual vaping addictions. However, an agreement was reached to resolve the litigation.

JUUL Vaping Addiction Lawsuit Settlement Announced

On December 6, JUUL Labs announced it had reached a global resolution for 5,000 vaping addiction lawsuits filed against the company in the U.S., involving claims being pursued by about 10,000 plaintiffs. The JUUL settlement is expected to resolve personal injury complaints, class action lawsuits, claims filed by government entities and Native American tribes, according to the press release.

The settlement comes following reports that JUUL was considering bankruptcy protection due to the cost it expected to face in JUUL lawsuit payouts over the coming years. The proposed settlement still must be approved by the court.

The deal also was reached after JUUL agreed to pay a $438.5 million settlement with 34 U.S. states and territories, as well as impose a series of strict requirements that would severely limit the ability of the company to market and sell its vaping devices to teens.

Judge Grants Preliminary Approval to JUUL Settlement Agreement

Last week, Judge Orrick granted preliminary approval for the global settlement agreement, saying it appeared to be fair, reasonable and accurate.

The Court confirmed the settlement includes all plaintiffs with personal injury cases filed or who have tolled their claim with the manufacturer by December 13, 2022, regardless of whether or not that claim is filed in the federal litigation pending before Judge Orrick. The settlement also resolves all claims brought by government entities by December 6, 2022, and all cases by Native American tribes filed by October 21, 2022.

To participate in the settlement, personal injury plaintiffs must have filed a completed Plaintiff Fact Sheet by January 20, 2023, and government entities and tribal plaintiffs must have completed Plaintiff Fact Sheets by January 13, 2022. Personal injury plaintiffs must then submit Settlement Program Eligible Participation Forms by May 15.

Settlement Comes as FDA Considers JUUL Ban

The settlement agreement was reached only a few months after the FDA announced it intends to ban JUUL products from the U.S. market, due to an inability by the manufacturer to prove that the products can be sold in a way that does not threaten public health.

However, almost immediately after the ban was announced, JUUL filed a lawsuit to delay the ruling to give the company time to respond. The FDA agreed and has delayed the ban from going into effect for the time being.

The exact amount of each individual JUUL addiction settlement payout is unclear at this time, but Judge Orrick has appointed Retired Gail Andler to serve as Special Master and each plaintiff will have the option to opt-out of the settlement.


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