The San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) has filed a lawsuit against JUUL Labs, Inc. for the company’s role in cultivating what they call an e-cigarette epidemic that disrupts the education and learning environment across their district.
The suit was filed in San Diego Superior Court on Jan. 7. The lawsuit follows those filed by the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), Glendale Unified School District (GUSD), Compton Unified School District (CUSD), and Anaheim Elementary District (AESD), 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, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of SDUSD. “We are holding JUUL accountable for its unscrupulous marketing practices and dangerous products.”
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. Also, enforcement actions – such as vape detectors, video surveillance, staff to monitor the school’s property to combat the e-cigarette crisis.
“Our district is in the business of educating students in a healthy and safe environment," said San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten. “This lawsuit supports district goals by holding JUUL accountable for its harmful marketing practices and unsafe products.”
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.
San Diego Unified School District is represented by John P. Fiske of Baron & Budd, P.C. and Brian Panish and Rahul Ravipudi of Panish, Shea, & Boyle, LLP.