Opioid Lawsuit

The attorneys representing Summit County and several other Utah counties in a massive opioid lawsuit, have filed a revision that adds over 50 more defendants to the litigation.  The new defendants include several national retail pharmacy companies, as well as other manufacturers and individuals.

More than half-a-dozen Utah counties have joined as new plaintiffs to the massive opioid lawsuit filed last year by Summit County.

Summit County was the first in Utah to file a suit, in the spring of 2018, contending that it and other local governments have been harmed by a national opioid crisis. The county alleged that the defendants, going back about 20 years, have engaged in a deceptive marketing campaign that promoted opioids for chronic long-term pain and downplayed the risks of addiction. The defendants are a long list of pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors.

The judge presiding over the massive opioid lawsuit filed by Summit County, and two other counties, has set a hearing date in September for the defendants’ Motion to Dismiss.

The judge set the date after calling a conference to figure out how to schedule the complex case, with its large number of litigants.

A major national drug company, Purdue Pharma, says it is considering filing bankruptcy, which could throw a monkey wrench into hundreds of opioid lawsuits filed against it, including Summit County’s.

A spokesman for Purdue, Robert Josephson told the Associated Press in an email that they are looking into any number of options, given the amount of litigation the company faces. He wrote, “A decision has not been made to file for bankruptcy, not is there a timetable.”

Following a hearing on Friday in Salt Lake, a Third District Court judge has ruled that Summit County’s massive lawsuit against opioid manufacturers and distributors will be joined with similar lawsuits filed in Salt Lake and Tooele Counties for pre-trial activity.

Judge Richard Mrazik ruled that he could only order the consolidation in the Third District, but left the door open for several other Utah counties to join their litigation with Summit County’s.

Summit County

With a filing deadline that was set this Wednesday, several of the corporate defendants named in Summit County’s massive opioid lawsuit have submitted replies. The pharmaceutical companies are asking Third District Court to dismiss the suit.

The week the Summit County Health Board heard a brief presentation on the massive lawsuit filed by the county against nearly two dozen opioid manufacturers and distributors.  Rick Brough has details:

The Summit County Attorney's office, aided by three outside law firms, have filed the first opioid lawsuit initiated by a county in Utah.  The 240-page complaint in the Third District Court alleges that a group of opioid manufacturers and distributors created the national crisis by the misinformation and false claims in their marketing, as Rick Brough explains:

Summit County's massive lawsuit, unveiled this week, has not yet defined the financial damages it is seeking against more than a dozen U.S. opioid manufacturers and distributors.  But at a press conference on Tuesday, attorneys for the county explained their strategy.  Rick Brough reports: