Pierce County Opioid Litigation
Pierce County v. Purdue Pharma, L.P., et al.
United States District Court for the Western District of Washington
Case No. 3:18-cv-05086
On February 1, 2018, Keller Rohrback L.L.P. filed suit on behalf of Pierce County, Washington, against Purdue Pharma, Endo, Janssen, and other entities for the reckless promotion of opioids.
Defendants’ dubious marketing and aggressive sales of prescription opioids have significantly contributed to the current opioid crisis. Since the mid-1990s, opioids have become the most prescribed class of drugs in America. More than half of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid like those manufactured by Defendants. Beyond the cost of human life, the economic burden of prescription opioid abuse costs the United States an estimated $78.5 billion per year in health care and addiction treatment and puts increased strains on human services and the criminal justice system.
In Pierce County, the rate of opioid-related deaths is higher than the state average, with 9.9 deaths per 100,000 residents – compared to a state average of 9.6 – between 2012 and 2016. During those four years, 423 individuals died in Pierce County from opioid-related overdoses. More than half of the local homeless population is reported to be addicted to opioids.
Plaintiff Pierce County joins several other municipalities and government entities in litigation for damages related to the opioid crisis, including but not limited to, increased emergency medical responses to overdoses, drug-related offenses, and resource allocation spent on community and social programs.
Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said in a press release: “Where there is harm to the community, there should be accountability for the corporations.”
Derek Loeser, a partner at Keller Rohrback, said it’s time that the companies responsible for this epidemic be held accountable. “Too many communities have been hit hard by this crisis on so many levels. We’re honored to work with Pierce County to ensure that they get some relief for the disaster that the companies responsible for the epidemic created.”
Keller Rohrback’s Complaint was filed on February 1, 2018, in the Western District of Washington. On February 15, 2018, the case was transferred into the national MDL (Multi-District Litigation) In re: National Prescription Opiate Litigation, MDL No. 2804, in the Northern District of Ohio before the Honorable Dan A. Polster.