A lawsuit brought by the New York Attorney General and two New York counties could be the second state trial holding opioid companies accountable for the opioid crisis that caused overdose deaths and economic damages in the communities. The trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 20.
New York Attorney General Letitia James, and Nassau and Suffolk counties are suing opioid manufacturers and distributors including Johnson & Johnson, Cardinal Health, Mallinckrodt LLC, Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc., Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, and AmerisourceBergen. Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin, was named in the suit but those claims and those against the company’s billionaire family, the Sacklers, are in bankruptcy court. Purdue filed for Chapter 11 protection in September as part of a tentative settlement agreement to settle about 2,000 lawsuits.
Johnson & Johnson faced off against two Oklahoma counties in the first state case to go to trial, and was ordered in August to pay $572 million for creating a public nuisance and overstating the benefits of its opioids while downplaying their addiction risks. The company says it is reviewing the judge’s orders in the New York case.
If the case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James and the two counties does not settle before the January trial date, the trial will be divided into two parts. The first phase will focus on liability and the second will consider damages.
“After all these years of death and destruction, come January, the actions of the manufacturers and distributors of these deadly drugs will be presented in open court and laid bare for the American people,” AG James said in a statement according to Law360. “We are committed to holding those responsible for a role in the opioid crisis accountable and will not stop fighting for justice for victims.”
Beasley Allen has an Opioid Litigation Team that includes these lawyers: Rhon Jones, Parker Miller, Ryan Kral, Rick Stratton, Will Sutton, Roger Smith and Jeff Price. This team represents the State of Alabama, the State of Georgia, and numerous local governments, as well as other entities in multidistrict litigation.