Juul settlement may set precedents for future

By David Fleet
A recent financial settlement by an e-cigarette manufacture will not directly benefit Michigan school districts, however, the decision will set precedents for future actions.
According to news sources, on Sept. 6, e-cigarette maker Juul will pay $438.5 million to 34 states and territories in a settlement following a two-year investigation into the company’s marketing and sales practices, according to announcements from several states.
The investigation found that Juul deliberately marketed its products to young people, even though e-cigarette sales to children are illegal.
In March the Goodrich School Board voted 6-0 to join other public school districts in a nationwide lawsuit against electronic cigarette giant Juul Labs Inc., alleging vaping is harming students.
Following the Tuesday’s announcement, William Shinoff, a trial lawyer at the California-based Frantz Law Group responded to The Citizen newspaper regarding the settlement.
“Goodrich or other Michigan Schools were not part of Tuesday’s settlement,” he said. “However, the Juul settlement will establish future  precedents as this case and others moves forward.”
Goodrich along with other districts were referred to Frantz Law Group by East Lansing-based Thrun Law firm regarding the ongoing Juul investigation.
The damages are separated into past and future. For past damages, schools in the litigation will be seeking reimbursement for costs associated with purchasing and installing vape detectors.
“There is no financial or legal risk to the districts for participating,” said Wayne Wright, district superintendent. “They are just asking us to join the consortium if there is a financial recovery we would get some of that. If it’s dismissed it would cost us nothing.”
In addition, they will be seeking any lost state aid associated with vaping suspensions and expulsions.
As for future damages, the focus will be on obtaining compensation for schools to appropriately handle the vaping epidemic going forward without having to take money out of the general fund.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, since 2014, e-cigarettes have been the most commonly used tobacco product among U.S. youths. In 2020, an estimated 3.6 million, 13.1 percent U.S. middle and high school students reported using e-cigarettes within the past 30 days (current use); more than 80 percent of current users reported flavored e-cigarette use

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