Battle Ground Public Schools will receive hundreds of thousands of dollars from a legal settlement against an e-cigarette manufacturer after joining onto a lawsuit with hundreds of other school districts that alleged underage students were unlawfully marketed to.
During the BGPS board of directors meeting on March 13, the board voted to approve the settlement against Juul Labs and other involved companies. The district is set to receive roughly $322,000 from the settlement, Superintendent Denny Waters said at the meeting.
Waters said the fees from the settlement would be about 35% of that total, leaving the district with about $209,000.
The board first voted to bring the district into the lawsuit in March 2022. At that time, the district agreed to work with Spokane-based law firm Stevens Clay PS on a lawsuit against Juul Labs and Altria, a major investor in the company.
BGPS was one of more than 600 school districts who signed onto the lawsuit, according to information from Stevens Clay. The lawsuit sought to hold the companies accountable for present and future costs districts will incur for the prevention, intervention and education on nicotine use and addiction.
Information from Stevens Clay cited the state’s Healthy Youth Survey, which in 2018 showed about 30% of high school seniors self-reported vaping in the last 30 days, a 50% increase from what was reported in 2016.
The settlement money will likely be used for prevention education, the district’s communications director Amanda Richter stated in an email. The final amount the district will receive won’t be known until legal fees come in. When the district will receive the funds is also unknown, Richter said.
The settlement is only against Juul Labs, and not Altria, according to the board resolution. Altria is the successor company to Philip Morris, and was named in the initial lawsuit BGPS joined onto.
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