For Immediate Release: 2/28/2018 11:36 am
In its continued efforts to combat the opioid epidemic, the City of Worcester has retained Scott+Scott, Attorneys at Law, LLP to file litigation against pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors of opioid products.
The defendants will include at least two sets of culpable parties: three major opioid distributors – AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation, Cardinal Health, Inc. and McKesson Corporation as well as opioid manufacturers who engaged in a multi-pronged and multi-million dollar campaign of deception regarding the safety and appropriate use of their prescription opioids. Additional defendants may also be named.
Through the impending lawsuit to be filed in Superior Court, the City will seek reimbursement for potential damages including all costs of implementing opioid prevention and treatment programs; health insurance payments under the employee health plan for City of Worcester employees, retirees, and their families; the costs incurred by first responders in overdose calls; court and crime-related expenses and the overall social costs of addiction, including expenses for employee NARCAN training.
The City is also seeking to recover additional costs that it has incurred or will incur in the future, that have historically not been considered traditional “municipal services,” such as providing rehabilitation for persons with addiction and counseling services for their families.
According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, there were 1,501 confirmed opioid-related deaths across the state in 2017.
“The human cost of the opioid epidemic both here in Worcester and throughout Massachusetts has been catastrophic,” said City Manager Edward M. Augustus. “This litigation is just one aspect of our continued commitment to do everything we can to save lives.”
The City of Worcester will not be responsible for any up front attorneys’ fees or expenses in connection with this litigation as Scott+Scott will prosecute claims on a contingency fee basis. Expenses and attorneys’ fees will be paid only out of any amounts obtained by the City through the litigation. Scott+Scott was selected after the City considered proposals from several different law firms. The firm currently represents cities and counties in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Jersey, Florida and Massachusetts, including the cities of Springfield, MA and Haverhill, MA. Scott+Scott is one of the largest complex litigation law firms in the country, with offices in Connecticut, New York, Ohio, California and London, England.