Everywhere you turn, there are articles and news segments on the national opioid epidemic. The Poole Law Group is Maryland counsel for a consortium of law firms that are leading the mass tort action against the opioid distributors and manufacturers. The consortium is a litigation team of Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor, P.A., Baron & Budd, PC, McHugh Fuller Law Group, PLLC, Hill, Peterson, Carper, Bee & Deitzler, PLLC, Greene, Ketchum, Farrell, Bailey & Tweel, LLP and Powell & Majestro, PLLC. Attorney Bruce Poole has known some of the attorneys of Levin, Papantonio for over twenty years and can attest to how good they are in representing clients in mass tort actions. Levin, Papantonio is best known for rewriting Florida’s Medicaid Third-Party Recovery Act to allow the State of Florida to sue and recover billions of dollars from the tobacco industry for smoking-related illnesses. Baron & Budd, of Dallas, is a premier firm in the area of mass tort litigation, as well, and has previously given exceptional service to Maryland local governments for environmental claims.
In Maryland, we are representing Allegany County, Washington County, St. Mary's County, the City of Cumberland, the City of Frostburg, and the City of Hagerstown. Our clients are part of the 2200 plaintiffs participating in the consolidated lawsuit known the National Prescription Opiate Litigation or Multi-District Litigation (MDL) 2804. The National Prescription Opiate Litigation is overseen by U.S. District Judge Dan Polster in the Northern District of Ohio. The mass tort action is against the drug manufacturers and distributors (e.g., McKesson, Mallinckrodt, Purdue Pharma, Cardinal Health, and others) who have failed to detect and report suspicious orders of opioids, despite being required to do so by federal and state law. All prescribed opioids must flow through the distributors as federal law requires that opioids be distributed in a closed system. This is a case of the watchdogs abusing their position and shipping massive quantities of drugs to pharmacies and dispensaries and doing so deliberately without checks or stopgaps. Currently, the MDL 2804 has two bellwether cases running. Track 'B' of the Case One bellwether trial -- County of Summit, Ohio v. Purdue Pharma et. al. and County of Cuyahoga, Ohio v. Purdue et. al. -- is set to begin October 13, 2020. The second bellwether trial involves the City of Huntington, West Virginia and Cabell County, West Virginia against the manufacturers and distributors and discovery in this track is ongoing.
Information from ARCOS (Automation of Reports and Consolidated Orders)—the DEA's reporting system for controlled substance transactions—is now publicly available which shows which companies supplied opioids and which companies distributed opioids in Washington, Allegany, St. Mary's and other counties around Maryland and the nation. The data also reveal which pharmacies dispensed the most opioids in any given county. The time period covered is from 2006 to 2012.
Our national trial team has reformatted the information so that the public can read summaries of the millions of lines of data. Those summary reports include “Total Dosage Units of 15 Opioid Drugs”, “State of Maryland and (X) County: 14 Opioid Drugs Dosage Units Market Share”, “Labeler Market Share by Drug, 2006-2012”, “Labeler Market Share by Morphine Milligram Equivalents (MME), 2006-2012” and “Opioid Shipments to Pharmacies”. This data is available at www.SLCG.com under the "opioids" tab. “Labeler” is another term for “manufacturer”.
While The Poole Law Group is prohibited from discussing specifics of the ongoing litigation, those interested in a good general overview of the opioid litigation should visit the National Public Radio's (NPR) website page entitled, "Your Guide to the Massive and Massively Complex Opioid Litigation."