March 22nd, 2019
ELKTON, MD. – Barron & Budd, the law firm in the federal court case against manufacturers and distributors of opioid medication, which represents 635 different governmental entities, in 28 different states and 8 sovereign nations, informs that Cecil County has met the Federal Court’s March 16th deadline and successfully filed 595 short form amended complaints over the last week. The amended complaints add certain retail distributors of opioid medication, and seek to hold additional companies responsible for the harm that has been incurred by the citizens of Cecil County, and communities like ours, across the country due to rampant and negligent distribution of opioid prescriptions.
The law firm was recently made aware of developments with respect to claims against the members of the Sackler family who own Purdue Pharma and related entities including the Sackler Family Trust and Rhodes Pharmaceuticals, a company owned by the Sacklers.
The Sackler owned Purdue companies manufacture and market OxyContin and generic opioids. It has been publicly reported that Purdue is considering a bankruptcy filing and Barron & Budd recently obtained information related to the Sackler family’s control of the Purdue companies and their systematic transfer of funds from the companies to the family.
Because of both the demands imposed as result of Sacklers’ conduct and the impending deadline to add defendants in the multidistrict litigation (MDL), the County was advised to bring claims immediately against the Sackler family and their related companies. Consequently, Barron & Budd recently drafted, and today filed, a federal lawsuit on behalf of Cecil County, Maryland in the Southern District of New York against the Sackler family, the Sackler Family Trust, and Rhodes Pharmaceuticals.
A redacted copy of the complaint can be viewed online: https://spaces.hightail.com/space/m6tONppb8P. It is expected that this complaint will be transferred to the MDL court in Cleveland, Ohio (with the County’s existing claims). The claims asserted against these defendants are public nuisance, RICO, negligent misrepresentation, fraudulent concealment, and unjust enrichment. Attorneys on the case recommended filing in New York as they believe that it gives Barron & Budd sound arguments for asserting personal jurisdiction over these new defendants.
Trial discovery and trial preparation in the MDL continues with the Barron & Budd’s consortium playing a major role in every aspect of the case. Discovery officially closed on January 25, 2019; however, there continues to be some document exchange, discovery responses and depositions taking place upon agreement of the parties or order of the Special Master. Given the massive amount of information exchanged thus far, Judge Polster slightly modified the schedule for the Track 1 cases. Trial for Track I Plaintiffs Summit and Cuyahoga Counties is now set for October 21, 2019.
As previously reported, all Plaintiffs’ claims in these cases (including Cecil County’s) survived the Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss per Judge Polster’s December, 2018 order.
County Executive Alan McCarthy initiated the filing of litigation against certain manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioids in Federal District Court for the District of Maryland in January 2018. The lawsuit seeks monetary damages and equitable relief against 21 wholesale distributors and manufacturers of prescription opioid medication, and is based on the defendants’ role in the diversion of millions of prescription opiates into the illicit market, resulting in increased numbers of addiction, abuse, morbidity, homelessness, crime and incarceration in Cecil County.
“The burden of this opioid monstrosity needs to be owned by the very pharmaceutical companies who created it,” said County Executive Alan McCarthy. “Prevention through education is currently our only way out of this devastating situation. We will continue to be the voice of the citizens of Cecil County and fight this battle together.”