Profit-Driven Lawyers Deter Comprehensive Solutions for Opioid Crisis
Lawyers who are driven by potential winnings and settlements threaten to frustrate efforts to resolve litigation over the opioid epidemic, lessening the likelihood of achieving a meaningful resolution
On Jan. 14, New Mexico became the latest state to join a nationwide settlement with Johnson & Johnson and other opioid makers. The company agreed to pay the state $44 million to resolve claims that it fueled the opioid epidemic through its marketing practices.
Also, states joined together to urge California courts to dismiss complaints filed by local governments, arguing that the municipality complaints undermine the states’ roles in the opioid multi-district litigation (MDL).
The MDL, comprised of more than 1,000 cases, concerns another national crisis which has been backburnered during the Covid-19 pandemic—the country’s opioid epidemic.
Opioid abuse has resulted in enormous human and economic costs, as state attorneys general who have reached settlements aimed at combating the epidemic and alleviating its harms have stated.
However, the master complaints filed in this MDL by hundreds of political subdivisions of states that have already settled with the same defendant as well as major pharmacies threaten to frustrate—not further—efforts to resolve litigation over the opioid epidemic, lessening the likelihood of achieving meaningful resolution.
These follow-on complaints, along with duplicative municipal litigation against all these businesses, risk usurping the states’ traditional authority to act in the interests of their citizens. Allowing the municipality complaints to proceed will harm not just the settling parties but the prospects of resolution for future MDLs—and the administration of justice itself.
Want more updates on civil justice reform? Sign up for ATRA’s occasional email updates.
The American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) is disappointed to learn that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled against LTL Management, LLC in a case regarding the […]
This op-ed was originally published by Agri-Pulse. Mass tort litigation has become a multi-billion-dollar industry for trial lawyers over the past several decades as they’ve targeted everything from tobacco and […]
SB 2-A to improve FL property insurance; addresses assignment of benefits, one way attorney fee shifting, third-party bad faith
Arbitrary, excessive punishments result from lack of clarity under some laws
State ranked No. 3 among worst ‘Judicial Hellholes’ in nation with residents paying $1,900 per year in ‘tort tax’
Residents pay ‘tort tax’ of more than $1,010 amid all-time high inflation