The Town of Sudbury’s Board of Selectmen voted unanimously this week to join over 80 other Massachusetts cities and towns in bringing litigation against pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors over the opioid crisis.
The mass tort litigation is being filed through the Massachusetts Opioid Litigation Attorneys (MOLA), a consortium of lawyers suing large pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors. The civil cases are being brought throughout the country. The litigation includes claims that manufacturers misrepresented the addictive nature of prescription opioids and the appropriate use of these powerful drugs, and that distributors violated the Federal Controlled Substances Act by failing to report suspiciously large shipments of the drugs to communities across the nation.
“Opioid use is having a devastating impact on communities across our nation, Sudbury included,” said Robert Haarde, Chairman of the Sudbury Board of Selectmen. “These dangerous drugs have a heartbreaking impact on our families, our schools and our employees resulting in very serious outcomes including grief, trauma and a significant increase in corresponding public safety and medical expenditures. Pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors must be held accountable for the devastating results their irresponsibility has caused for our community, our commonwealth and our country.”
The MOLA consortium includes locally the firm of KP Law, which serves as Sudbury’s Town Counsel. MOLA is also working on the lawsuit with six national law firms, including Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor, PA in Pensacola, Florida; Greene, Ketchum, Farrell, Bailey & Tweel, LLP of Huntington, West Virginia; Baron & Budd, PC in Dallas; Hill Peterson Carper Bee & Dietzler PLLC in Charleston, West Virginia; Powell & Majestro, PLLC in Charleston, West Virginia; and McHugh Fuller Law Group in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
The damages sought on behalf of individual cities and towns are for past costs including law enforcement, needle exchanges, Narcan, ambulance services, treatment services and the like, as well as future mitigation or abatement costs for the foreseeable expenditures of taxpayer dollars toward treatment, education and prevention. There is no cost to the Town for joining the lawsuit, as the suit is being handled on a contingency fee basis.