Altria Agrees to Pay $235 Million to End San Fran Suit

Credit: Bill Oxford

Altria has reportedly struck a $235 million deal to end a lawsuit brought by the San Francisco public school system one day after the plaintiff’s lawyers ended closing arguments.

This settlement represents a positive step forward in addressing the harmful impacts of vaping on the public,” said Girard Sharp partner Dena Sharp, Co-Lead Counsel for Plaintiffs in the litigation. “The settlement funds will compensate JUUL purchasers, young people, parents, and governmental organizations across America, and avoids the delay and uncertainty of continued court proceedings. We are proud of our clients and the federal court system that made this result possible. The legal system worked in this case, and we thank the jurors who devoted their time to this trial over the past few weeks.”

The Altria settlement brings a final resolution to the personal injury, consumer class action, and government entity cases brought in the MDL and the JCCP brought on behalf of children, families, and JUUL purchasers everywhere in the U.S.

Much of the school district’s argument in its case against Altria involved the distraction which occurred when vaping became “endemic,” interfering not only with teachers’ abilities to control their classrooms but nearly all levels of student life.

The bellwether trial forced Altria to publicly defend itself solo for the first time as it faces thousands more cases that were brought against the company and Juul. In December, Juul Labs agreed to pay more than $1.2 billion to settle more than 5,000 suits blaming the company for a youth vaping epidemic across the U.S.

Juul and Altria defended the first trial that started in March over a case brought by Minnesota over deceptive marketing of e-cigarettes. The companies settled the state’s case earlier this year.

In April, Juul agreed to pay $462 million to six states and the District of Columbia to resolve lawsuits and investigations into the marketing of addictive vaping products to children.