PLACERVILLE, CA) – El Dorado County has filed a lawsuit against opioid manufacturers and distributors for creating the opioid epidemic in El Dorado County, joining a consortium of 30 California counties to do so. The County has retained the national law firm of Baron & Budd and a joint venture of law firms to represent its interests, seeking an abatement remedy in addition to legal damages for taxpayer money spent providing social resources in response to the crisis.
The California Opioid Consortium includes 30 counties, representing approximately 10.5 million residents. All 30 counties are filing suit in federal court and expect their cases to be transferred into the Multi-District Litigation in Ohio, where more than 500 public entities have filed similar suits.
In El Dorado County, more than 183,000 opiate prescriptions were written in 2016 in a County with a population of approximately 184,000 residents. The County had nine deaths attributable to opioid overdose, which is higher than the state average of 4.6 deaths per 100,000 residents. From 2008 to 2016, 87 residents died from opioid-associoated overdose. In 2016 an estimated 5.1 percent of the population aged 12 and older or 9,000 people, in the County misused opioids and approximately 1,600 had an opioid use disorder. In 2016, the County had a rate of 8.9 emergency department visits per 100,000 people due to opioid overdoses and 13.3 opioid overdose hospitalizations per 100,000 residents.
“The County seeks to recover taxpayer funds used to respond to the opioid epidemic,” said El Dorado County Counsel Michael Ciccozzi. “Local government services have been subsidizing the impact of the opioid epidemic created by multi-billion dollar corporations which have placed profits over public safety.”
The California Opioid Consortium and its counsel have developed evidence that many of the nation’s largest drug manufactures misinformed doctors about the addictiveness and efficacy of opioids. The manufacturer defendants include Purdue Pharma; Teva Ltd; Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson); Endo Health Solutions, Inc.; Allergan PLC; and Mallinckrodt. Drugs manufactured by these companies include, but are not limited to: OxyContin, Actiq, Fentora, Duragesic, Nucynta, Nucynta ER, Opana/Opana ER, Percodan, Percocet, Zydone, Kadian and Norco.
The lawsuit also names the nation’s largest drug distributors – Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen, and McKesson Corp. – which failed to monitor, identify and report “suspicious” opioid shipments to pharmacies, in violation of the federal Controlled Substances Act. The lawsuit also names other large national distributor/retailers that were under the same reporting obligation.
The County’s entire legal team includes the law firms of Baron & Budd; Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor; Powell & Majestro; Greene Ketchum Bailey Farrell & Tweel; Hill, Peterson, Carper, Bee & Deitzler; McHugh Fuller Law Group. The firms currently represent over 300 cities and counties throughout the United States.
For more information, please contact John Fiske at Fiske@BaronBudd.com or at 619-261-4090.
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