On December 5, 2017, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) formed an Opioid MDL, sending 180+ federal opioid cases to the Northern District of Ohio. The transferred cases were brought by governmental entities, such as counties, cities, and states, against manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioid pain medications.
These cases seek compensation for the extensive costs incurred by governmental entities due to the national opioid addiction epidemic. Hospitals, insurance companies, and labor unions may also be entitled to compensation from prescription opioid manufacturers and marketers for excess costs resulting from the opioid epidemic.
Feldman & Pinto’s opioid litigation lawyers offer representation to Pennsylvania governmental entities, Pennsylvania hospitals, Pennsylvania labor unions, and Pennsylvania insurance companies to seek recovery of economic and other damages caused by the opioid epidemic. Feldman & Pinto’s drug injury lawyers also offer representation to individuals injured by opioid addiction.
Purpose of Opioid MDL / Multidistrict Litigation
MDLs help to manage cases that involve damages to large numbers of plaintiffs. The main purpose of an MDL is to simplify discovery and pre-trial proceedings when multiple cases share common issues.
The JPML decided to center the opioid MDL in the Ohio court, in part, because:
- the MDL would serve parties’ and witnesses’ convenience
- centralization would promote efficiency and justice in the conduct of the litigation, and
- the transferred lawsuits involved common fact questions
Common questions of fact cited by the JPML include:
- knowledge by defendant opioid manufacturers and distributors about widespread prescription opioid diversion (transfer of prescription opioids to someone other than the person for whom they were prescribed)
- improper marketing of prescription opioids by defendants
These cases may allege:
- that the defendant manufacturers and distributors failed to take legally required steps to prevent opiate diversion
- RICO violations
- consumer protection law violations
- controlled substances law violations
- negligent misrepresentation
- unjust enrichment
Effect of Opioid MDL / Multidistrict Litigation
Formation of the opioid MDL requires transfer of all currently filed federal opioid cases to the MDL court for this phase of the litigation. Governmental subdivisions that file cases after the MDL is formed must file directly with the MDL court.
The MDL does not affect the independence of opioid-epidemic-related lawsuits transferred to the MDL. If a case transferred to the MDL does not settle or get dismissed during the MDL proceedings, it will be transferred back to the court in which it was originally filed.
Feldman & Pinto: Pennsylvania Opioid Litigation Lawyers
Feldman & Pinto offers representation to individuals who have suffered personal injuries as a result of opioid addiction. The firm also offers opioid epidemic representation to Pennsylvania governmental entities, Pennsylvania hospitals, Pennsylvania labor unions, and Pennsylvania insurance companies that have incurred excess costs due to the opioid epidemic.
Contact Feldman & Pinto.