Acting through the special legal counsel of Robins Kaplan LLP, the city of La Mesa is suing multiple companies and parties in the opioid industry, including the Sacklers Family, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries USA Inc., Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc., Allergan Finance LLC, and Mallinckrodt LLC. Opioid distributors were also named in the lawsuit, including Cardinal Health Inc., Amerisource Bergen Corporation, and McKesson Corporation. The city is seeking reparations for loss of resources, economic damages, and damages to the health and welfare of its citizens related to the ongoing opioid crisis.
Similar to other jurisdictions in California and around the country, the La Mesa City Council has directed the city attorney to file a lawsuit in the Superior Court of the state of California against numerous opioid manufacturers and distributors.
“This lawsuit is necessary to end opioid addiction in our community and its adverse impacts,” said Mayor Mark Arapostathis. “We can no longer stand by and witness our citizens suffering the consequences of the reprehensible actions of these businesses and individuals.”
The lawsuit alleges that manufacturers and distributors of opioids engaged in conduct that directly caused doctors to prescribe overwhelming amounts of opioids and intentionally neglected their obligations to prevent the irresponsible distribution of the highly addictive substance. Specifically, the lawsuit includes allegations of public nuisance, fraud, negligence, unjust enrichment, civil conspiracy, false advertising, negligent failure to warn consumers, and fraudulent transfer.
The term “opioid” includes all drugs derived from the opium poppy. The United States Food and Drug Administration describes opioids as “powerful pain-reducing medications that includes prescription oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine, among others, and have both benefits as well as potentially serious risks. These medications can help manage pain when prescribed for the right condition and when used properly, but when misused or abused, opioids can cause serious harm, including addiction, overdose, and death.”
“This lawsuit will seek to recover costs and tax resources taken from the city and its citizens due to the bad acts of the manufacturers and distributors of opioids who caused this ongoing crisis,” said lead outside counsel Roman Silberfeld of Robins Kaplan.
|Opioid Death Rates (Age-adjusted per 100K)||Prescription Opioid Death Rates (Age-adjusted per 100K)||Heroin Death Rates (Age-adjusted per 100K)|
|San Diego County||7.84||6.05||1.93|
|State of California||5.23||3.70||1.70|
|Opioid Overdose Rates-Excluding Heroin (Age-adjusted per 100K)||Heroin Overdose Rates (Age-adjusted per 100K)||Opioid Prescription Rates (Age-adjusted per 100K)|
|San Diego County||12.32||9.02||475.51|
|State of California||10.31||9.88||508.65|
*Opioid overdose and death rates in the city of La Mesa, as compared to the County of San Diego and state of California. (Data source: California Opioid Overdose Surveillance Dashboard as of May 6, 2019)