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August 19, 2022

San Francisco Prevails in Landmark Opioid Trial Against Walgreens

On August 10, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued findings of fact and conclusions of law following a bench trial in City and County of San Francisco, et al., v. Purdue Pharma L.P., et al., Case No. 3:18-cv-07591-CRB. The case—part of nationwide multidistrict litigation arising from the opioid epidemic—involved dozens of defendants. By the time of trial, all but four defendants had settled. Three others settled during trial, leaving Walgreens as the only remaining defendant facing a public nuisance claim. In a 112-page decision, Judge Charles R. Breyer found that San Francisco met its burden of proving that Walgreens contributed substantially to the public nuisance in San Francisco. According to the court, Walgreens breached its regulatory obligations to take reasonable steps to prevent diversion of opioids and harm to the public. Judge Breyer’s decision decides only liability. A second phase of trial to determine damages will follow. 

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