Robbins Geller Tapped to Bring First Opioid Epidemic Lawsuit on Behalf of Florida Municipality
Delray Beach is poised to be the first city in Florida to take action in the nationwide opioid epidemic litigation. As reported in the Palm Beach Post, the opioid epidemic “has caused financial and emotional strain on the people,” and its leaders, including Mayor Cary Glickstein, are demanding accountability and restitution. In what public health officials have called the worst drug crisis in American history, more than 183,000 people have died in the United States between 1999 and 2015 from overdoses directly related to prescription opioids. The city of Delray Beach alone responded to 690 overdoses last year.
Robbins Geller will represent the city against several pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors in the action. Similar opioid epidemic lawsuits allege that these companies, including Purdue Pharma and Cephalon, deliberately conceived strategies to create an entirely new “health care” narrative – one in which opioids were safe and effective long term and forced the burden of dealing with the resultant overdoses on the state, county and city governments. The lawsuits seek damages based on the claims that drug manufacturers and distributors violated the state consumer protection statute, created a public nuisance, and were negligent.
“They went out and said that opioids are less than 1 percent addictive. That is obviously not true,” said Mark J. Dearman, a Robbins Geller partner who spoke with the Delray Beach city commission. “This is a play right out of Big Tobacco’s playbook.”