The Milton School District has joined a nationwide effort in which school districts are suing JUUL and other manufacturers of vaping devices.
The school board agreed to join the “mass action” suit on a unanimous vote after a closed session Monday.
A mass action lawsuit seeks damages actually incurred and expenses that will be incurred. In a class- action lawsuit, plaintiffs do not receive the full cost of those damages, according to information supplied by the firm suing JUUL, Franz Law Group of San Diego.
The Milton district has no survey to determine how many students vape, but high school counselors and administrators deal with the issue regularly, said Superintendent Rich Dahman.
The district’s costs would include deterrence and education efforts and time administrators and counselors spend working with students on vaping and nicotine addiction, Dahman said.
Franz said it would seek compensation for installing “vape detectors,” at a cost of $5,000 for each restroom.
The district’s effort would be minimal. Officials will only have to fill out a form detailing the costs, Dahman said.
The district will pay no attorney fees, Dahman said. Franz Law Group says it will receive a “contingency fee” if they win, 20% if the case resolves in the first year and 25% thereafter.
Janesville School District spokesperson Patrick Gasper said the Janesville district does not plan to join the lawsuit.
In other closed-session business, the Milton board voted unanimously to:
- Reduce the fee paid to Huffman Facility Development, which is overseeing the 2019 $59.9 million referendum construction projects.
Huffman will receive $535,000, which is $50,000 less than the original fee. Dahman said Huffman offered the reduction in part because projects have gone so smoothly that the company’s time was reduced.
The work involved projects at all the district’s schools, some now completed and some continuing into September.
- Approved a $5,000 bonus to Stephen Schantz, director of buildings and grounds, for extra effort, leadership and superior performance, some of which led to the price reduction for Huffman, Dahman said.
Schantz’s efforts led to the projects being completed on time and on budget, Dahman said.
Schantz received a $6,000 bonus and credit for unused vacation days last year for similar reasons, Dahman said.
Public bodies are allowed to close meetings to the public for reasons that include evaluation of the performance of an employee and discussing pending litigation.