Judge Criticizes Lack of Diversity in Juul Settlements as $150 Million in Attorney Fees Move Forward

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal judge in California has granted approval for up to $150 million in attorney fees to move forward in settlements involving Juul Labs. The settlements include a $255 million class action settlement on behalf of consumers. U.S. District Judge William Orrick approved $76.5 million in fees in the class action and accepted the recommendation of a fee committee allocating common benefit funds. However, Orrick expressed concern over the lack of diversity among the lawyers involved in the Juul cases, noting that none of the 62 plaintiffs’ firms had a Black or Latino attorney. Plaintiffs’ attorneys agreed that diversity is a “categorical problem in our bar.” Meanwhile, in a separate case, a federal judge has dismissed all five general causation experts for plaintiffs alleging that acetaminophen increases a child’s risk of developing ADHD or autism when taken during pregnancy. The judge stated that there is no generally accepted scientific conclusion supporting this claim. Additionally, a federal judge in South Carolina heard oral arguments on whether to grant final approval to a $1.185 billion class action settlement between DuPont and thousands of water providers over PFAS contamination in drinking water. Lead plaintiffs’ attorneys in the case have filed a motion seeking $840 million in attorney fees in the settlement agreement.