In late January, Judge William Orrick of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California gave preliminary approval to a $255 million Juul lawsuit settlement. The approval by the judge comes months before the Juul class action lawsuit heads to trial in California federal court.
The class action alleges that Juul used deceptive marketing to sell its e-cigarette products and that it didn’t warn the public of the risks of addiction. The company has also been accused of playing a significant role in creating a vaping epidemic among young people.
Plaintiffs have also claimed that Juul markets its products as safer than cigarettes when there is no evidence to back this up, and that Juul said its e-cigarette pods contained about the same amount of nicotine as a pack of cigarettes, but actually contained much higher levels of nicotine than the advertised 5%.
According to court documents, up to 15% of class members — between 200,000 and 2 million members — will receive payments. About a month prior to this latest settlement, Juul reportedly set aside between $1.2 and $1.7 billion to settle roughly 10,000 claims.
A class action trial against Altria, Juul’s biggest investor, is still scheduled to begin April 17, 2023. Altria also owns Philip Morris USA and Marlboro cigarettes.
Juul reached a global resolution in about 5,000 cases involving 10,000 claimants in December 2022. Among the claims involved in this resolution were that Juul played a key role in the U.S. youth vaping epidemic, and that the company’s products caused addiction, seizures, and other health problems.
Juul has stated that the company secured investments to cover these settlement costs, which Bloomberg valued at $1.2 billion and the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times valued at around $1.7 billion.
Bloomberg reported that the deal aims to resolve all lawsuits against Juul including class actions, school district claims, and personal injury claims.
“These settlements represent a major step forward toward strengthening Juul Labs’ operations and securing the company’s path forward to fulfill its mission to transition adult smokers away from combustible cigarettes while combating underage use,” a Juul spokesperson said in a statement.
Juul already agreed in December to a $435 million settlement to resolve lawsuits filed by 33 state attorneys general regarding the company’s marketing and sales practices.