Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh, along with other county officials, announced today the County has hired the law firm Motley Rice to pursue legal action against opioid manufacturers, distributors, and local “pill mill” doctors. Anne Arundel County is the first jurisdiction in Maryland to file such action.
According to a press release,
We need to send a message in one strong, united voice that misleading and deceptive marketing practices and unethical prescribing practices are unacceptable in this County and this Country,” said Schuh. “Those who have had a hand in this epidemic must be held accountable.”
The Motley Rice law firm and its 90 attorneys have led and secured landmark outcomes and monumental settlements in some of the most significant health, environmental and consumer fraud litigation in state and federal courts throughout the last 30 years. The firm is working on a contingency fee basis and there are no immediate costs to tax payers. Motley Rice will only get paid if the suit recovers funds.
Over the coming months, the firm will gather data to help identify possible plaintiffs in the pharmaceutical and medical fields. Possible legal claims against the parties include:
- False Claims Act claims
- Maryland Consumer Protection Act claims
- Nuisance law claims
- Other claims such as unjust enrichment, fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation, and breach of warranty
Despite record investments in education, prevention, and public safety, the opioid crisis in Anne Arundel has steadily gotten worse in recent years. Within the first quarter of 2016, drug and alcohol overdose deaths increased more in the county than any other Maryland jurisdiction. The County’s opioid prescription rate remains above the national average and nearly three times higher than in 1999. There were as many opioid-related overdose deaths suffered in the county within the first three months of 2017 as the entire year of 2016.
Read the full press release for more information.