Sarasota chooses lawyers for suit aimed at recouping damages from opoid epidemic
With the opioid crisis taking a toll across the country, Sarasota City Commissioners recently voted to retain a group of attorneys to represent the city in a lawsuit aimed at recovering damages related to the epidemic.At a meeting on February 5, the commissioners unanimously voted to retain personal injury attorney Bill Robertson with Kirk Pinkerton and Steven Teppler with the Abbott Law group. The attorneys are expected to file a lawsuit in federal court in Tampa against at least seven major pharmaceutical and distribution companies. The city will not incur any expenses unless recovered during the lawsuit, according to a press release.“Our nation is in crisis and these pharmaceutical companies are putting profits above people by fueling the opioid epidemic with false claims and failure to disclose the long-term risks of these toxic drugs,″ said Robertson. “Their conduct is fraudulent, unlawful and deceptive and municipalities have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to keep up with the expenses related to this malfeasance.″According to the city, it was revealed in previous litigation throughout the country that manufacturers falsely stated that opioid use was non-addictive. More than 70 states, cities and counties have filed lawsuits countering the claims.“These companies grossly overstated the benefits of opioid therapy leading to excessive collateral damage, including staggering losses for workman’s compensation, law enforcement, emergency services, relapse prevention and more,″ said Teppler.According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 30,000 deaths per year occur from prescriptions, with annual sales topping $13 billion.“This lawsuit is an aggressive move to claw back some of the profit that pharmaceutical companies have made unscrupulously pedaling addiction in our community and I fully support the effort,″ said Sarasota City Commissioner Hagen Brody.