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News / Health / Clark County Health

Clark County schools to receive payouts as part of Juul lawsuit

Four districts will get funding to address youth nicotine vaping

By Griffin Reilly, Columbian staff writer
Published: March 23, 2023, 6:00am

Four school districts in Clark County are set to receive payouts over multiple years as part of a nationwide class-action lawsuit against Juul Labs Inc. and affiliated companies for deceptively marketing vaping devices to minors.

The lawsuit alleges that Juul Labs and one of its major investors, Altria, contributed to rises in teen and youth nicotine addiction through creating advertising campaigns that intentionally appealed to children. The settlement is intended to hold the companies accountable for costs that school districts have incurred in order to address the increased issue among students and fund further education about nicotine abuse, support interventionists and more.

Evergreen Public Schools, Battle Ground Public Schools, the Camas School District and Woodland Public Schools are among 1,600 school districts involved in the lawsuit, which, after reaching a settlement earlier this month, will see Juul Labs pay out an estimated $1.2 billion.

Garrett Williams — an attorney from Stevens Clay, the firm representing the schools — informed Evergreen’s board of directors of the settlement during its March 14 meeting. The board approved the settlement shortly after.

“Juul was advertising on places like Nickelodeon, they were using cartoons to market tobacco to kids, they were putting (Juul products) at an accessible level in convenience stores,” Williams said in the meeting. “As part of this lawsuit, we got a nationwide injunction against that kind of behavior.”

Evergreen, the biggest school district in Clark County, joined the lawsuit on May 23, 2022. The district is expected to receive approximately $600,000 from the settlement, which will be reduced by approximately 30 percent after fees, according to the district. The funds will be paid out in several installments between now and December 2026 and be used address youth vaping and nicotine addiction.

Battle Ground Public Schools was informed that it will receive an offer of $320,265.74 before fees as part of the settlement, but is not yet aware of a timeline for how and when funds will be distributed.

The Camas School District is also listed as a plaintiff in the suit, but it has not received details about the settlement. Woodland Public Schools is also listed as a plaintiff, but a representative from the district could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Evergreen and each of the other districts are expected to learn more about what exactly they might receive in the coming months.

“Our firm did this pro bono for the district, and we did that because we felt like this was one of those nationwide harms that we could put some emphasis behind,” Williams said. “So we’re really proud of the work we were able to do to get an injunction, and also getting the dollars to the district that could be put to good use.”