November 18, 2019

Hospitals Jump Into the Opioid Litigation Fray

By Lynn M. Barrett, Esq., CHC, CCP, Barrett Law, PA, Weston, FL

Introduction

Every week – if not every day - it seems like one can pick up a newspaper or magazine and read a story related to the national opioid crisis and the impact it has had on the country. Recently, many of the stories focus on the multitude of states, cities, and counties that have sued pharmacies and the manufacturers and distributors of opioids whose actions, they claim, caused the crisis. Much attention, for example, has been focused on the pending multidistrict litigation (MDL) occurring in Cleveland, Ohio under Judge Dan Polster.1 In the MDL, over 2,000 lawsuits brought by cities, counties, municipalities and tribal governments have been consolidated into a single action for purposes of coordinated and consolidated pretrial proceedings. The plaintiffs in these suits seek to hold opioid manufacturers, distributors and retail pharmacies liable for the significant costs that the plaintiffs incurred in dealing with the opioid epidemic. In addition, state attorneys general have initiated lawsuits against the same and similar defendants, who they also claim caused the crisis and now must pay to fix it.2  

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