On April 3, 2019, a group of law firms led by Morgan & Morgan filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for Southern District of Florida in Miami against opioid manufacturers and distributors on behalf of the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners. The lawsuit names Purdue Pharma and others and seeks justice for its role in fueling the opioid crisis and its devastating effect on Monroe County citizens. The lawsuit is assigned to Judge Jose Martinez.
Monroe County filed this lawsuit to stop the devastating march of this epidemic and to hold the drug, pharmaceutical and retail companies responsible for the crisis they have caused.
“These necessary and costly responses to the opioid crisis include the handling of emergency responses to overdoses, providing addiction treatment, handling opioid-related investigations, arrests, adjudications, and incarcerations, treating opioid-addicted newborns in neonatal intensive care units, burying the dead, and placing thousands of children in foster care placements, among others,” the complaint states.
The lawsuit alleges that to increase opioid use and increase profits, the named opioid manufacturers embarked on a false and deceptive marketing campaign that grossly understated the dangerous addiction risks of opioids while overstating their benefits. The lawsuit also alleges that the named opioid distributors supplied, sold and placed into the stream of commerce prescription opioids, without fulfilling their legal obligations to monitor, detect, report, investigate or otherwise prevent the fulfillment of suspicious orders.
In January 2019, the National Institute on Drug Abuse wrote: “Every day, more than 130 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids. The misuse of and addiction to opioids including prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl—is a serious national crisis that affects public health as well as social and economic welfare. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the total ‘economic burden‘ of prescription opioid misuse alone in the United States is $78.5 billion a year, including the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement.”
The civil action seeks damages, injunctive relief, and restitution for the defendants' conduct.
For more information, contact the Monroe County Attorney’s Office at 305-292-3470.