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The two Offices of Education, serving over 2.5 million students and 122 Districts, have filed suit as school districts are overwhelmed trying to manage the pervasive “juuling” which has increased by tenfold since 2013
SAN DIEGO — A national coalition of law firms has filed two lawsuits on behalf of two County Offices of Education against JUUL Labs Inc. for its role in creating an e-cigarette epidemic and resurgence in youth nicotine addiction that impedes the learning environments in schools across California. The lawsuits were filed on behalf of the Los Angeles County Office of Education and the San Diego Office of Education.
The LACOE is the largest regional education agency in the country and provides programs and services to 80 school districts in the county and more than 2 million preschool and school-age children. The SDCOE supports nearly 780 schools and more than 500,000 students and provides services to 42 school districts, 124 charter schools, and five community college districts in the county.
The national law firm coalition includes Baron & Budd, P.C.; Panish Shea & Boyle; Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis and Miles, PC; Wagstaff & Cartmell, LLP; Goza & Honnold, LLC; and Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger. The coalition is working together to help school districts and public entities combat the youth vaping epidemic.
These Offices join 31 California school districts that have also filed to take a stand against JUUL’s promotion of dangerous and addictive products, including:
The lawsuits seek injunctive relief and abatement remedy to combat the e-cigarette epidemic, which has severely impacted the school districts by interfering with normal school operations. The districts are also seeking compensatory damages to provide relief from the districts’ financial losses as a result of students being absent from school, the extensive costs to orchestrate outreach and education programs regarding the risk of vaping, and deploying the enforcement restrictions – such as vape detectors, surveillance systems, and staff to monitor the school’s property in an effort to combat the e-cigarette crisis.
“LACOE and SDCOE serve millions of students in California and protecting their students is top priority,” said Baron & Budd Shareholder, John Fiske. “JUUL is responsible for creating a youth vaping epidemic and they need to be held responsible. These schools have been hit hard by this health crisis and we are here to help these districts hold JUUL accountable for their role in the vaping crisis.”
“We are proud to stand beside these agencies of education and the 31 school districts throughout California who are leading the fight and championing for the safety, wellness and future of their students,” said Panish Shea & Boyle LLP Partner, Rahul Ravipudi.
Since entering the market in 2015, JUUL has dominated the e-cigarette industry and has controlled over 70% of the market. Over a million JUUL e-cigarettes were sold between 2015 and 2017. In fact, the e-cigarette category grew 97 percent to $1.96 billion between June 2017 and June 2018 alone. That growth is largely based on JUUL’s market strategy, which is to target school-age children, the lawsuit alleges.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse found that the 2018 spike in nicotine vaping was the largest for any substance recorded in 44 years and the number of youth e-cigarette users increased by 1.5 million between 2017 and 2018. The lawsuit alleges JUUL’s aggressive, strategic marketing and product designs not only create an addiction crisis among youth consumers, but also a broader health crisis.
Baron & Budd, P.C. is among the largest and most accomplished plaintiffs’ law firms in the country. With more than 40 years of experience, Baron & Budd has the expertise and resources to handle complex litigation throughout the United States. As a law firm that takes pride in remaining at the forefront of litigation, Baron & Budd has spearheaded many significant cases for hundreds of entities and thousands of individuals. Since the firm was founded in 1977, Baron & Budd has achieved substantial national acclaim for its work on cutting-edge litigation, trying hundreds of cases to verdict and settling tens of thousands of cases in areas of litigation as diverse and significant as dangerous and highly addictive pharmaceuticals, defective medical devices, asbestos and mesothelioma, California wildfires and environmental contamination, fraudulent banking practices, e-cigarettes, motor vehicles, federal whistleblower cases, and other consumer fraud issues.
Panish Shea & Boyle LLP is a nationally recognized personal injury law firm representing plaintiffs in catastrophic injury, wrongful death, product liability, mass torts/class action, sexual abuse/assault and business litigation cases. Firm attorneys have obtained some of the most significant awards for plaintiffs in U.S. history and are repeatedly recognized for excellence by other trial attorneys, legal organizations and publications nationwide. The firm is ranked by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers® as a “Tier 1” Firm – the highest ranking a firm can receive – in the areas of Plaintiffs Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions, Plaintiffs Personal Injury Litigation and Plaintiffs Product Liability Litigation, and is recognized as being among the top Plaintiff’s law firms in the country by the National Law Journal.