Oklahoma City files its own opioid lawsuit
The city of Oklahoma City filed suit Thursday against pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors, and several doctors, alleging their actions contributed to the opioid crisis, resulting in substantial costs to the city.
The 80-page lawsuit was filed in Oklahoma County District Court.
The city will resist any attempts by the 38 defendants to transfer the litigation to federal court and combine it with “multi-jurisdiction “ litigation in Ohio, where a multitude of cities and counties have joined together to sue over opioid marketing and prescribing practices, said Wiley Williams, a deputy city attorney.
All of the defendants are answerable to Oklahoma residents and taxpayers, in Oklahoma courts, he said.
“The opioid epidemic is ravaging communities across the United States, but particularly in Oklahoma, as a result of corporate greed,” the lawsuit says.
It says the defendants falsely downplayed the risk of opioid addiction and overstated the efficacy of opioids for more than cancer, terminal illness and acute short-term pain “in a willful effort to maximize their profits at the expense of human life.” The city's agreement with its outside lawyers requires the lawyers to take on the cost of pursuing the case, limits the share they can claim of any award, and is intended to limit taxpayers' risk.
The city is seeking actual damages; compensation for future costs; punitive damages; attorneys' fees, costs and expenses; and other relief as seen fit by the court. No total dollar figure is given.
The city says it has incurred costs for health care; emergency care; social services; counseling, treatment and rehabilitation services; treatment of infants born with opioid-related medical conditions; law enforcement; lost productivity of its residents; administration; and other expenses.