Texas school district preparing to sue Juul, sends contingent contract to AG for approval
By David Yates
AUSTIN – Waxahachie ISD recently sent a contingency fee contract to the Office of the Attorney General, requesting approval to green light litigation against the vaping company Juul.
School districts in states such as New York and California have already filed lawsuits against Juul and other vape companies, seeking to recoup alleged financial losses incurred while attempting to manage the exploding number of students using e-cigarettes.
While Texas school districts haven’t exactly jumped on that bandwagon yet, Attorney General Ken Paxton did, however, announce that his office is leading a bipartisan, 39-state investigation into JUUL Labs back in late February.
The multistate coalition launched the investigation in response to evidence that JUUL misrepresented the health risks associated with its products and promoted them to children who are not of legal age to purchase tobacco products.
Because the state might be preparing a suit of its own, the AG’s Office may decide not to approve contingent contracts brought by municipalities seeking to sue Juul, as it has recently done with opioid contingent contracts.
Prior to the passage of House Bill 2826 late last summer, Texas law required local governments to submit contingency-fee contracts to the state comptroller for approval. Since the law went into effect, approval for such contracts must be obtained from the state attorney general instead.
According to documents obtained by The Record, on March 18 The Webster Law Firm sent an agreement for legal services between it and Waxahachie ISD to the AG’s Office for approval.
Two days earlier, the Waxahachie ISD Board met and approved a resolution authorizing the retention of Webster Law to file suit against Juul.
Records also show Deputy Superintendent Lee Auvenshine had met with attorney Jason Webster regarding his firm’s litigation on behalf of multiple school districts against Juul.