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JUUL Class Action Lawsuit: 2024 Updates

Read on for a breakdown of the latest updates in the JUUL class action lawsuit, as well as background on the company's many other lawsuits.

evident Editorial Team
April 10, 2024
e-cigarette, smoke

In recent years, JUUL Labs, a prominent player in the e-cigarette industry, has found itself ensnared in a web of legal challenges and controversies. From allegations surrounding marketing practices to concerns over product safety and addictiveness, the company has faced an onslaught of lawsuits from various groups. These legal battles have shed light on the complexities and controversies surrounding the vaping industry as a whole.

From high-profile class action settlements to individual litigations with states and municipalities, the legal saga surrounding JUUL has captivated public attention and sparked important debates about regulation, corporate responsibility, and public health. This article explains the landscape of lawsuits against JUUL Labs, offering insights into the nature of the allegations, the progression of legal proceedings, and the implications for both the company and consumers.

In particular, this article shares the latest JUUL class action lawsuit updates, including the landmark settlement and information about payouts for eligible consumers.

Key Takeaways

Overview of JUUL Lawsuits

As mentioned, JUUL Labs has faced many legal challenges and lawsuits in recent years.

JUUL has been sued by states, local governments, school districts, individuals, and other entities. JUUL has been sued for its marketing practices, for the inherent dangerousness of its products, for personal injury claims, and more. JUUL has also been sued regarding antitrust allegations in a case captioned In re Juul Labs, Inc. Antitrust Litigation.

Many of these JUUL lawsuits have reached settlements, while others are still winding their way through the courts.

The JUUL class action lawsuit that many consumers are interested in (captioned In re JUUL Labs, Inc. Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation) had a key development in March 2024 when the judge gave final approval for a $300 million settlement.

JUUL: Corporate Background

JUUL was founded in 2015 and quickly became the dominant company in the e-cigarette market. JUUL e-cigarettes and other products soared to a whopping 72% of the market share in 2018, doing billions in annual revenue and achieving a company valuation of $38 billion in 2019.

But there was a swift backlash against vaping and e-cigarettes, and the company's market share dropped all the way to 28% by 2022. In the interim, JUUL agreed to pull certain flavors and limit its marketing to youth. Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) even denied authorization for JUUL to continue to sell its products, although that order was quickly put on hold by the D.C. Circuit appellate court and has still not taken effect as it remains tied up in various stages of appeal.

Altria Group, the other company sued in the class action lawsuit against JUUL  due to its ownership stake in Juul Labs, Inc., paid $13 billion for its 35% stake in the company in 2018. However, Altria recently valued that stake at $250 million and subsequently announced that it swapped it for certain of Juul's intellectual property rights, a further reflection of how the company's fortunes have plummeted since it burst onto the scene.

JUUL Class Action Lawsuit Settlement

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The JUUL class action lawsuit recently got final approval from the court for a $300 million settlement. The settlement resolves allegations against JUUL Labs and Altria Group, a company that held an ownership interest in JUUL.

District Judge William Orrick granted preliminary approval to JUUL Labs, Inc.'s $255 million settlement in January 2024. The judge then granted approval for Altria Group's approximately $45 million settlement in March 2024.

The combined settlements resolved allegations that the settlement class members paid more for JUUL products than they otherwise would have if the company had disclosed accurate information about the addictiveness and safety of its products. (For instance, JUUL pods contain as much nicotine as an entire pack of traditional cigarettes, but the various lawsuits argue, among other things, that JUUL falsely portrayed its products as a safer alternative to smoking normal cigarettes and that they contained less nicotine).  

The settlement class members consist of anyone who purchased JUUL products in the U.S. before December 6, 2022. The judge noted that only 197 claimants chose to opt out of the final settlement, and only four claimants objected out of the millions of claimants involved.

Other Notable JUUL Settlements

The class action settlement is just one JUUL settlement of many, though. The company has faced litigation from states, local governments, school districts, and other entities in sprawling litigation that has led to billions of dollars in settlements.

Some of the noteworthy JUUL settlements in recent years include:

  • September 2023:  JUUL agreed to pay $438 million to 33 states plus Puerto Rico to resolve allegations regarding JUUL's marketing practices, including those relating to minors.
  • April 2023:  JUUL agreed to pay $462 million to settle claims with six states and Washington D.C. that the company had marketed its products to teens. (The settlement involved some of the nation's largest states, such as California and New York, hence the substantial settlement amount for the comparatively fewer states involved). Separately, JUUL also settled litigation with Minnesota for $60.5 million.
  • December 2022:  JUUL reportedly agreed to pay approximately $1.2 to $1.7 billion to resolve 5,000 cases in the MDL. This massive settlement resolved lawsuits by school districts, local governments, and individuals.
  • April 2022: JUUL settled with Washington state for $22.5 million to resolve similar allegations regarding the company's marketing practices and lack of disclosures about the addictiveness and danger of its products.
  • June 2021:  JUUL reached a $40 million settlement with the state of North Carolina.

JUUL Class Action Lawsuit Payout Per Person

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Many interested observers are curious: what is the payout per person in the JUUL class action lawsuit? In the Final Approval Of The Altria Settlement,  U.S. District Judge William Orrick provided some insights into the JUUL class action settlement.

In short, claimants will get payouts based on how much they spent on JUUL products during the relevant time period, which is prior to December 6, 2022, if they can provide documentation (aka receipts) for their purchases of JUUL products. Undocumented claims will be capped at $300.

The court order also noted that higher payments would be given to claimants who first purchased JUUL products while underage.

Who is eligible for a JUUL class action lawsuit payout?

The settlement class in the class action JUUL lawsuit consists of individuals who purchased JUUL products within the U.S. before December 6, 2022. The final approval order clarifies that the settlement class includes individuals who purchased "JUUL accessories and products in addition to JUULpods and devices."

The judge noted that over 14 million claim forms have been submitted to the court but that those claims include many duplicates and "many millions with indicia of fraud." Accordingly, the order states, "current estimates put[] the number of valid claims around 2 million."

When will JUUL class action lawsuit payout?

According to the settlement website, administered by Epiq, "payments are expected to go out later this year."

The JUUL settlement payouts will undoubtedly take time to reach all claimants, given the millions of JUUL claims that have been submitted. However, valid claims should begin receiving settlement payouts in 2024.