Juul Labs Inc. reached a sweeping legal settlement Tuesday covering more than 5,000 lawsuits and about 10,000 individual plaintiffs. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
The deal resolves much of the legal uncertainty that had pushed the e-cigarette company to the brink of bankruptcy. Juul said Tuesday that it had secured an equity investment to cover the cost of the settlement. Juul has been in talks with early investors including two of its longtime board members, Nick Pritzker and Riaz Valani, to fund a bailout that would cover its legal liabilities, The Wall Street Journal previously reported.
“These settlements represent a major step toward strengthening Juul Labs’ operations and securing the company’s path forward,” the company said in a statement.
Juul in 2018 became a teen status symbol when sales of its sleek vaporizers surged, upending the tobacco market. Lawmakers, regulators and parents blamed the company for fueling a surge in teen vaping. Many of the lawsuits accused Juul of marketing to children and teens. Juul has said it never targeted young people but has been working to regain the public’s trust.
The settlement covers two pending bellwether trials that were set to go to court early next year, and four broad groups: personal-injury plaintiffs, Juul consumers, government entities such as school districts, and Native American tribes.
An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.
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