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County Files Federal Lawsuit vs. Opiate Manufacturers and Distributors

Post Date:01/10/2018 10:47 AM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 10, 2018

ELKTON, MD. – On January 8, 2018, Cecil County Government lawyers Baron & Budd, P.C. of Dallas, Texas and Thomas L. Kemp, Esquire, Kemp & Kemp, P.A., local counsel of Elkton, Maryland, filed suit in United States District Court for the District of Maryland seeking monetary damages and equitable relief against twenty-one wholesale distributors and manufacturers of prescription opioid medication. The County’s litigation is based on 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. “Cecil County must hold these distributors and manufacturers accountable for their actions, and stop the influx of these powerful drugs within this community. These defendants have targeted our citizens in a concerted manner at great cost to our County, and we now seek compensation for all damages caused by their callous behavior.”

The purpose of this lawsuit is to seek reimbursement of the costs incurred in the past fighting the opioid epidemic, as well as the recovery of funds to abate the health and safety crisis caused by the unlawful conduct of these defendants. 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.”

The County’s Federal Court complaint asserts a claim for public nuisance, as well as claims under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (18 U.S.C. 1961, et seq) better known as RICO and 18 U.S.C. 1962(d), et seq. of RICO, together with claims in Negligence and Negligent Misrepresentation, Negligence Based on Statutory Violations, Civil Conspiracy, Fraud and Fraudulent Misrepresentation, Violation of the Maryland False Claims Act, and Unjust Enrichment.

According to statistics provided by Raymond Lynn, Cecil County Heroin Coordinator, in Cecil County in 2017 there were 585 overdoses ~ 87% involving opioids. Of those overdoses, 69 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, and it’s a problem for which these defendants must be made to answer.” McCarthy added.

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

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