San Diego Unified School District Sues JUUL Labs, Inc. For Creating District-Wide Vaping Epidemic
Panish Shea & Boyle LLP attorneys Brian Panish, Rahul Ravipudi and Jesse Creed, in collaboration with co-counsel at Baron & Budd P.C., filed a lawsuit on behalf of California’s second largest school district, the San Diego Unified School District, against JUUL Labs, Inc. for the company’s role in cultivating and fostering an e-cigarette epidemic that disrupts the education and learning environment across the District.
READ THE COMPLAINT The District’s lawsuit follows those filed by the Los Angeles Unified School District, Compton Unified School District and Anaheim Elementary District, all against JUUL for the same negligence and nuisance claims. “As a native San Diegan, this is an important lawsuit for our communities and students,” said Baron & Budd shareholder, John Fiske. “We are holding JUUL accountable for its unscrupulous marketing practices and dangerous products.”
“This lawsuit affirms San Diego Unified’s commitment to the health and safety of its students and sends a message to JUUL that the District will not tolerate the risks brought upon its students or the financial burden associated with admonishing a vaping epidemic from its campuses,” said Rahul Ravipudi, Partner at Panish Shea & Boyle LLP.
Filed in San Diego Superior Court on January 7, 2020, the lawsuit seeks injunction and abatement to stop the e-cigarette epidemic, which has severely impacted the school districts by interfering with normal school operations. The Districts also seek 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.
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.