The latest wave of state lawsuits over the opioid crisis illustrates sharp differences emerging in how governments litigate these cases, both in whom they choose to sue and whether private lawyers stand to get a piece of the action.
Five of the six states announcing lawsuits earlier this month focused on a single defendant, OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma. They also decided to prosecute the cases with their own attorneys, rather than farming the work out to private lawyers working on contingency.
The sixth state, Florida, added Endo Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson and the three biggest opioid distributors to its case and hired four outside law firms. But they’re working under a contract that pays them no more than $50 million, far less than the open-ended terms that private lawyers have obtained from most government clients in opioid litigation.
The differing approaches and fee schedules illustrate the complex nature of these cases, many of which are concentrated in federal court in Ohio but are also scattered in state courthouses around the country. Some states are focusing on opioid manufacturers because they believe it will be relatively easy to prove their cases under state deceptive trade practices laws.
Others are taking a shotgun approach to the industry, suing everyone involved along the chain of production and distribution, from manufacturers to retail pharmacies and prescribing physicians…
Read more of this Legal Newsline story on Forbes.