Beasley Allen has filed an opioid lawsuit against drug manufacturers and distributors on behalf of the City of Weaver, Alabama, alleging the marketing of these drugs contributed to the creation of the opioid epidemic, a public health and safety crisis. Responding to the opioid crisis has required the city to sustain economic damages and to continue to bear a significant financial burden. The city is represented by Beasley Allen lawyers Rhon E. Jones, who is head of the firm’s Toxic Torts Section, Rick Stratton, Will Sutton, Ryan Kral and Jeff Price, along with Anniston, Alabama, attorney Jason C. Odom.
Beasley Allen has filed similar lawsuits on behalf of a number of Alabama municipalities and counties, as well as Sumner County, Tennessee, and Catoosa County, Georgia. The firm also is representing the State of Alabama in its opioid lawsuit against Purdue Pharmaceuticals.
“The opioid crisis is the result of greedy pharmaceutical companies that were left to their own devices,” said Jones. “Their deception and reckless disregard for human life is written all over the countless communities affected by opioid addiction, costing the nation over $500 billion. Communities like the City of Weaver are taking a stand and demanding the industry be held accountable for the local resources that were diverted to address the fallout of the opioid crisis.”
“It is unconscionable that opioid makers and distributors have created this public health crisis and then turned their backs on the communities and lives they destroyed,” said Odom. “In this country, we believe in justice and that is exactly what the City of Weaver is hoping to find by filing the lawsuit. The city should not have to shoulder, alone, the economic burden thrust on it by greedy pharmaceutical companies.”
Economic damages resulting from the opioid epidemic include costs for providing medical care, therapeutic care and treatments for patients suffering from opioid-related addiction or disease, including overdoses and deaths; costs for providing counseling and rehabilitation services; costs for treating infants born with opioid-related medical conditions; public safety and law enforcement expenses; and care for children whose parents suffer from opioid-related disability or incapacitation.
In 2016, Calhoun County, where the City of Weaver is located, had an opioid prescription rate of 161 for every 100 people. Four Alabama cities rank in the Top 15 in the nation with the highest rates of opioid abuse – Anniston, Gadsden, Montgomery and Tuscaloosa. Nationally, opioids are responsible for killing more than 183,000 people since 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2016 alone, 42,000 people in the U.S. died from opioid overdoses.
Defendants include Purdue Pharma L.P.; Purdue Pharma, Inc.; The Purdue Frederick Company, Inc.; Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, LTD.; Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.; Cephalon, Inc.; Johnson & Johnson; Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. n/k/a Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Janssen Pharmaceutical Inc. n/k/a Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Noramco, Inc.; Endo Health Solutions Inc.; Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Allergan PLC f/k/a Actavis PLS; Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc. n/k/a Actavis, Inc.; Watson Laboratories, Inc.; Actavis, LLC; Actavis Pharm a, Inc. f/k/a Watson Pharma, Inc.; Mallinckrodt plc; Mallinckrodt LLC; McKesson Corporation; Cardinal Health, Inc.; and AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation.
The complaint is filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama.