Carroll Takes Action to Avoid Litigation “Purgatory” with Opioid Lawsuit

law - gavel and scaleCarroll County has withdrawn its lawsuit against opioid manufacturers with promises to refile. The move is the latest to exemplify the complicated nature of the lawsuits filed against drug makers nationwide.

As previously reported on Conduit Streetthe flood of litigation on both the state and federal levels as well as recent settlements by some major manufacturers, are having an impact on the strategies being pursued by the plaintiff governments and the defendant drug makers.

Carroll County initially filed its lawsuit in the Carroll County Circuit Court. County officials decided to pursue their case in state court rather than joining the federal suit, which encompasses over 2,000 counties and municipalities jointly pursuing a federal case against drug manufacturers and distributors, in hopes of keeping the problem and its resolution local.

The defendant drug makers, however, prefer the latter and had successfully filed for a “snap removal” to federal court prompting Carroll to withdraw the suit with plans to refile once again in the state court.

The Baltimore Sun reports on the strategy the attorneys representing Carroll County are pursuing:

Reeves and his colleagues have a better chance of holding those companies to account for Carroll County if they can keep the case in Carroll County, he said, because the case going to federal court means it will become one many cases before a single judge.

“If they go to federal court, it can only go to one place, That’s the multi-district litigation, which we call the MDL, pending in front of Judge Polster in Cleveland, Ohio,” Reeves said. “The reason they want it to go there is because it will exist in some sort of purgatory for a very long time and probably never get to trial. There are 2,300, roughly, complaints in the MDL right now.”

For more information:

Carroll drops opioid lawsuit, but plans to refile (The Baltimore Sun)

Oklahoma Subjects Johnson & Johnson to Landmark Opioid Ruling (Conduit Street)

Carroll Joins Ranks of Counties Filing Suit Against Opioid Makers (Conduit Street)