Big news in the ever growing legal battle surrounding opioid manufacturers. Smith & Johnson is part of a team of attorneys representing a total of 64 cities and counties in Michigan in the fight to recover taxpayer dollars that have been used to combat the epidemic, and U.S. District Judge Dan Polsteras who oversees roughly 2,000 opioid lawsuits by states, counties and cities, said the plaintiffs can try to prove that drugmakers’ deceptive marketing of the painkillers caused a harmful, massive increase in supply that pharmacies and distributors did not do enough to stop the distribution. Via judge orders big drug companies to face opioid trial in Reuters:

“A factfinder could reasonably infer that these failures were a substantial factor in producing the alleged harm suffered by plaintiffs,” the Cleveland-based judge wrote.

The ruling was among seven decisions and orders totaling 80 pages from Polster ahead of a scheduled Oct. 21 trial by two Ohio counties against Purdue Pharma, the OxyContin maker accused of fueling the epidemic, and several other defendants.

Polster also refused to dismiss civil conspiracy claims against drugmakers, pharmacies and distributors, and said federal law did not preempt much of the plaintiffs’ case.

Other defendants included the drugmakers Endo International Plc and Johnson & Johnson; pharmacy operators CVS Health Corp., Rite Aid Corp., Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. and Walmart Inc.; and distributors AmerisourceBergen Corp., Cardinal Health Inc. and McKesson Corp.

Polster also refused to dismiss a variety of claims against generic drugmakers Allergan Plc, Mallinckrodt Plc and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.

Click for our municipal opioid lawsuit page.

Earlier this week, Purdue Pharma settled out for $270M in the state case brought by the State of Oklahoma. Mara Thompson with TV 7&4 has been following the progress of our Federal Opioid Litigation team since our first press conference on December 19th, 2017 at the Macomb County Medical Examiners office when we announced the filing of our first nine cases, which included Grand Traverse County.

Since that first round of filings in December 2019, the number of municipalities who have retained our team has increased from 9 cities and counties to 64 cities and counties here in Michigan. Our legal team has filed a Federal lawsuit on behalf of each municipal client against the same defendants named in the Oklahoma case, and others, in an attempt to recover taxpayer monies spent fighting the opioid epidemic created by these companies.

Mara reached out to Smith & Johnson attorney Tim Smith with questions regarding the Oklahoma state court settlement and how it might affect the Federal cases filed here in Michigan. The article from Up North Live is here.

The Oklahoma case, which is a state court case, will continue to trial on May 28, 2019 against the remaining manufacturers and distributors in that lawsuit. Our federal lawsuits filed here in Michigan are part of a National MDL currently based in Federal court in Cleveland, Ohio. The first of those federal cases will begin trial on October 21, 2019.

Smith & Johnson attorney Tim Smith discussing Leelanau County’s decision to enter the lawsuit against opioid manufacturers. More about Smith & Johnson’s Municipal Opioid Litigation right here.