Federal Judge William Orrick gave preliminary approval to a $255 million Juul lawsuit settlement last week. The district judge issued the approval months before the Juul class action lawsuit heads to trial in California federal court.

Class members who accept will release their economic loss claims as part of the settlement conditions. Up to 15% of class members – between 200,000 and 2 million class members – will receive payments, according to court documents. This latest Juul class action settlement approval comes about a month after the e-cigarette maker reportedly set aside between $1.2 and $1.7 billion to settle about 10,000 claims.

The settlement comes after years of mediation and resolves class claims against all defendants except for Juul’s biggest investor, Altria. A class action trial is scheduled to begin April 17, 2023 against Altria, owner of Philip Morris USA and Marlboro cigarettes, and could last until September.

“The notice of the settlement and litigation against Altria will be provided directly to known purchasers and by widespread publication. All the notices will link or point to the settlement website,” court documents said. 

Lawsuits Claim Juul Used Deceptive Marketing

The Juul class action alleges that the vaping giant used deceptive marketing to sell its e-cigarette products and that it didn’t warn the public of addiction risks. The company has also been criticized for its part in creating a vaping epidemic among young people. 

Plaintiffs also claim that Juul said that its e-cigarette pods contained about the same amount of nicotine as a pack of cigarettes but contained much higher levels than the advertised 5% nicotine. Lawsuits said that Juul markets its products as safer than cigarettes when there is no evidence to back up this claim.

Juul Offered $1.7B to Settle Thousands of Lawsuits

In December 2022, Juul announced it had reached a global resolution in about 5,000 cases involving 10,000 claimants. Many of these claims allege Juul played a key role in the U.S. youth vaping epidemic, and personal injury claims say Juul’s products caused addiction, seizures and other health problems. 

Juul hasn’t publicly commented on the terms or the amount, but stated the company secured investments to cover settlement costs. Bloomberg reported that the deal aims to resolve all lawsuits against Juul including class actions, school district claims and personal injury claims. Bloomberg valued the settlement at $1.2 billion while Wall Street Journal and New York Times valued it at around $1.7 billion. 

“These settlements represent a major step forward toward strengthening Juul Labs’ operations and securing the company’s path forward to fulfill its mission to transition adult smokers away from combustible cigarettes while combating underage use,” a Juul spokesperson said in a statement.

Juul already agreed to a $435 million settlement to resolve lawsuits about 33 state attorneys general filed. The settlement came after a two-year investigation launched in 2020 into the company’s marketing and sales practices.