When leadership positions in a multidistrict litigation are based on merit and qualification, the skilled and diversified plaintiffs’ team becomes a powerful force behind those who were harmed. Congratulations are in order for Ellen Relkin, Elizabeth Cabraser, and Erin Dickinson for their appointment to the Opioid MDL Executive Committee.
U.S. District Judge Dan Polster recently approved the 22-member plaintiffs’ leadership team to spearhead more than 180 lawsuits brought over the opioid epidemic. The lawsuits allege that manufacturers overstated the benefits and downplayed the risks of opioid drugs, which include prescription pain relievers like OxyContin (oxycodone), Vicodin (hydrocodone), codeine, and morphine. At the same time, the plaintiffs argue, drug distributors failed to properly monitor suspicious prescription orders.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, opioids are generally safe when prescribed by a physician and taken for a short time. However, their euphoric effect of the drugs can cause some people to quickly become addicted to them. Lately, the opioid epidemic seizing the country has become a top news story and a major focus of people across a range of industries.
The lawsuits were filed in Alabama, California, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, Washington and West Virginia. The legal team, which the National Law Journal refers to as a “Who’s Who” in mass torts,” will likely expand during the course of the litigation due to the growing caseload.
We at Milestone assist many injured clients who remain heavily medicated for their pain. We believe it is the pharmaceutical companies’ duty to adequately warn patients about the risks of their medications. Our team is confident that the plaintiffs’ leadership team will pursue justice to the full extent of the law. We, and I’m sure the rest of the nation, be will be watching this multidistrict litigation closely as it progresses.
A West Point graduate where he served as captain and military aviator, John Bair continues his commitment to our country through his efforts within the settlement planning industry. He has represented families of victims lost in the Flight 3407 crash, offered pro bono services to the families of 9/11 victims and drafted the first consumer protection bill for plaintiffs (H.R. 3699).