Panish Shea & Boyle attorneys Brian Panish, Rahul Ravipudi and Jesse Creed, in collaboration with co-counsel at Baron & Budd P.C., have filed lawsuits on behalf of the Compton Unified School District and Anaheim Elementary School District against JUUL Labs, Inc. for the company’s role in cultivating and fostering an e-cigarette epidemic that has invaded schools and diminished the education and learning environment across the Districts.
Filed in the Superior Court of California, the lawsuits seek injunctive relief and an abatement remedy to combat the e-cigarette epidemic, which has severely impacted the Compton Unified and Anaheim Elementary school districts by interfering with normal school operations. The Districts are also seeking compensatory damages to provide relief from the district’s financial losses as a result of students being absent from school, coordinating outreach and education programs regarding the health risks of vaping, and enforcement actions – such as vape detectors, video surveillance, and staff to monitor the school’s property in an effort to combat the e-cigarette crisis.
“Joining of the Districts further confirms the systemic and widespread vaping epidemic that continues to challenge school resources throughout the country and put the health and safety of students at risk,” said Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP partner Rahul Ravipudi. “JUUL is responsible for fueling this epidemic with their marketing tactics, flavored nicotine, and sleek, tech oriented products and must be held accountable for its role in targeting the youth of America.”
“This dangerous culture created by JUUL has now triggered a resurgence of nicotine addiction and severe health issues amongst our youth,” said Baron & Budd Shareholder, John Fiske. “JUUL must be held accountable for their blatant disregard of the health and safety of these students.”
Since entering the market in 2015, JUUL has dominated the e-cigarette industry and now controls over 70% of the market. Reports found that in 2018, 4.9 million middle and high school students used tobacco products, with 3.6 million of those students using e-cigarettes. From 2017 to 2018, youth e-cigarette users increased by 1.5 million. That growth is largely based on JUUL’s market strategy, which is to target school-age children to ensure the continual growth of their consumer base.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse found that the 2018 spike in nicotine vaping was the largest for any substance recorded in 44 years. JUUL’s aggressive, strategic marketing and product designs not only create an addiction crisis among youth consumers, but also a widespread burden on school districts.