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County Files Civil Suit Against Opiate Distributors

Post Date:12/15/2017 8:47 AM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 15, 2017

ELKTON, MD. -- In early December, Cecil County Government retained the Dallas, Texas based law firm of Baron & Budd, P.C. to investigate and file litigation against wholesale distributors and manufacturers of prescription opioid medication, and the defendants’ role in the diversion of millions of prescription opiates into the illicit market, the results of which (addiction, abuse, morbidity, homelessness, and incarceration) are tearing our community apart.

“I am very passionate and committed to fighting the opioid problem in Cecil County,” stated County Executive Alan McCarthy.  “The County has selected Baron & Budd because the firm is a leader in large scale tort litigation that has achieved successful results in large scale litigation against both big tobacco and prescription drug manufacturers. Cecil County has the means to hold these distributors and manufacturers accountable for their actions and to stop the influx of these powerful drugs. Due to the targeted and concerted action by the opioid distributors and manufacturers, we intend to seek compensation for all damages caused by their callous behavior. We will do so in a very sensible and prudent way, because the County is being represented on a contingent fee basis that guarantees there will be no cost to the County unless the lawsuit results in equitable and/or monetary award or settlement.”    

Baron & Budd intends to present a damage model designed to abate the public health and safety crisis. This damage model may take the form of money damages and/or equitable remedies. The purpose of the lawsuit is to seek reimbursement of the costs incurred in the past fighting opioid epidemic and/or recover the funds necessary to abate the health and safety crisis caused by the unlawful conduct of the wholesale distributors. 

Quoting a white paper prepared by Baron & Budd, P.C., County Attorney Jason Allison points out that “investigation into the operations of both the wholesale distributors and the manufacturers of opioids has shown that these entities have worked hand-in-hand to maximize the amount of drugs they have flooded into local communities while completely disregarding their duty to maintain effective controls against diversion and halt suspicious sales of opioids…Federal and many state laws require distributors and manufacturers to identify, investigate, and report suspicious orders of controlled substances. The distributors’ and manufacturers’ known violations of these laws give rise to strong claims for significant equitable and monetary relief, for example, distributors of opioid medications are vulnerable to damage claims and penalty actions under theories such as public nuisance, negligence, and RICO.”

According to statistics provided by Raymond Lynn, Cecil County Heroin Coordinator, in Cecil County this year there have been 539 overdoses – 87% involving opioids. Of those overdoses, 64 of them resulted in fatality, with 92% of those deaths being attributed to opioids.

“The reality is that our officers and emergency services teams are responding to drug-related calls every day. The statistics are frightening. The trauma that is caused to children and families is immeasurable and taking a stand against the opioid distributors is the first step in tackling this problem that is plaguing our County, “ McCarthy added.

Burton LeBlanc, Esquire of Baron & Budd, P.C. will serve as lead counsel for the County.

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For more information, contact:
Jennifer Lyall
Public Information Officer
410-996-8454
jlyall@ccgov.org

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