Chesterton Tribune



Porter County enters multi district lawsuit against opioid manufacturers

Back To Front Page



The Porter County Commissioners approved a legal services agreement with Indianapolis-based law firm Cohen & Malad LLP at its meeting yesterday, signaling Porter County’s entry into a federal multi-district lawsuit against manufacturers and distributors of opioids.

The lawsuit alleges that deceptive marketing practices and overprescribing resulting from those practices have caused the widespread opioid crisis many Indiana municipalities currently face. Porter County joins several communities the firm is representing, including Lake and LaPorte Counties and the City of Indianapolis.

Richard Shevitz, partner at Cohen & Malad, said, “It’s now basically well recognized, and I would like to say undisputed, that the opioid crisis we’re experiencing lies at the feet of the manufacturers and the distributors of opioids.”

Shevitz said that 20 years ago it was unheard of for opioids to be prescribed for anything other than end of life care or invasive surgeries. Now, “Opioids are prescribed much more broadly, and as a result, opioid addiction has spread very widely.”

Shevitz said manufacturers and distributors are responsible for spikes in the prescription of opioids, so much so that there were 107 opioid prescriptions for every 100 Porter County residents in 2012. “You don’t have to be a doctor to know something is wrong with that.”

“It begins with the manufacturers who make money, and the distributors on the other side are just as culpable,” Shevitz said.

County Attorney Scott McClure said Porter County has nothing to lose in the suit because Cohen & Malad will only be paid contingent upon a win, in which case they are entitled to a percentage of the settlement.

McClure further said that Porter County’s proximity to Chicago and population density make it a unique addition to the lawsuit. Factors like the cost of incarceration and community-based services for those addicted will be considered for addition to a fact sheet for Cohen & Malad. The firm is attempting to collect data from every municipality it has had contact with, even if it declined to enter the lawsuit.

All the cases have been rolled into a multi-district lawsuit and are pending in an Ohio federal district court, where Shevitz said the Ohio cases are scheduled to be heard first in Sept. 2019 while the rest of the cases are on hold. Shevitz said the first cases will be a bellwether to gauge how the others may fare.



Posted 12/12/2018




Search This Site:

Custom Search