Robbins Geller and Co-Counsel Achieve Nearly $230 Million Settlement with Walgreens for its Role in Opioid Epidemic in San Francisco

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May 26, 2023

On May 17, 2023, Robbins Geller’s client, the City and County of San Francisco, announced a nearly $230 million settlement with Walgreens resolving a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California that was selected as a bellwether case in a broader multi-district litigation against pharmaceutical companies for their roles in facilitating the opioid crisis. Settlement funds will be used to remediate the epidemic in San Francisco. The settlement is subject to court approval.

“This trial was very personal,” said partner Aelish Marie Baig. “Many of us live or work in San Francisco and experience the impact of this crisis every day. We were honored to stand with the City and County of San Francisco as it took a leadership position in the fight to hold the entire industry of pharmacies, distributors, manufacturers, and marketers accountable. We are proud to have helped ensure that there are consequences for putting profit above safety.”

After a months-long trial last year, a federal district court ruled that Walgreens was liable for the epidemic. Baig led the trial team together with co-counsel. The court's 112-page opinion said Walgreens “gave short shrift to its regulatory obligations for fifteen years” and called the evidence against Walgreens “devastating.” Walgreens was the last defendant remaining by the end of the trial. The Teva and Allergan defendants announced a settlement for a combined $58 million just before the trial’s closing arguments.

“This case was an important win, but the fight continues,” said Boca Raton partner Paul J. Geller, who serves on the Plaintiffs Executive Committee directing the nationwide multi-district litigation. “Pharmaceutical companies have used the same practices that caused the crisis in San Francisco in communities all across the country. This settlement and the nationwide settlements continue to provide much-needed resources for abatement.”

For over five years, a Robbins Geller litigation team has represented states and local governments across the country in the nationwide multi-district litigation in the fight for accountability for the pharmaceutical industry’s role in the opioid crisis. The multi-district litigation has resulted in settlements totaling over $50 billion nationwide. Most of the settlement funds are reserved for abatement efforts, including treatment, recovery, and education. Distribution of the funds directly to impacted communities has commenced. 

The announcement from the City Attorney of San Francisco is available here: https://www.sfcityattorney.org/2023/05/17/san-francisco-city-attorney-announces-230-million-settlement-with-walgreens-after-victory-in-opioid-litigation/

In addition to Aelish Marie Baig, the Robbins Geller team consisted of partners X. Jay Alvarez, Dory P. Antullis, Lea Malani Bays, Mark J. Dearman, Thomas E. Egler, and Paul J. Geller, and associates Nicolle B. Brito, Hadiyah K. Deshmukh, and Taeva C. Shefler.

About Robbins Geller

Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP is one of the world’s leading complex litigation firms, representing plaintiffs in securities fraud, shareholder derivative, antitrust, corporate takeover, and consumer fraud and privacy cases. With 200 lawyers in 9 offices, Robbins Geller is one of the world’s largest plaintiffs’ firms, and the Firm’s attorneys have obtained many of the largest securities, antitrust, and consumer class action recoveries in history.

The Firm is ranked #1 on the most recent ISS Securities Class Action Services Top 50 Report for recovering more than $1.75 billion for investors in 2022 – the third year in a row Robbins Geller tops the list. And in those three years alone, Robbins Geller recovered nearly $5.3 billion for investors, more than double the amount recovered by any other plaintiffs’ firm. The Firm secured the largest-ever securities fraud class action settlement — $7.2 billion — in In re Enron Corp. Securities Litigation.

For media inquiries, please contact media@rgrdlaw.com or call (619) 338-3821.

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