National & State Opioid Settlements: Trailblazer Law Firm in the National Prescription Opiate Litigation Tells Its Story

national prescription opiate litigation settlements team

The national opioids settlements resulted from teamwork across LPR, the PEC, States Attorneys General, and city and county governments and plaintiff firms.

LPR attorneys whose skills, determination, and strategy are bringing relief to states and communities hit by the opioid crisis warn that the cycle could repeat

Individuals within these corporations are not held civilly or criminally accountable. Until this changes, the cycle of profit over safety will continue to spin.”
— Peter Mougey, Attorney, Levin Papantonio Rafferty
PENSACOLA, FL, UNITED STATES, June 9, 2023/ -- Levin Papantonio Rafferty (LPR), the heavy-hitter mass torts law firm that has marched at the forefront of the national prescription opiates addiction litigation brought by a consortium of law firms nationwide, is pleased to announce a nationwide opioid settlement agreement with pharma companies that caused a national addiction crisis. Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, Teva, and Allergan will pay a combined total of more than $18.5 billion to state and local governments across the country to help communities address the opioid crisis. When combined with earlier settlements by distributors and manufacturers of opioids, the total national settlement value approaches $60 billion.

As the funds commence their flow into communities, LPR attorney Peter Mougey, who serves as a member of the court-appointed leadership and negotiating team in the National Prescription Opiate Litigation multidistrict litigation (MDL 2804), commented:

"No amount of money can compensate for the opioid epidemic killing more than 500,000 Americans over the last 20 years, but these payments totaling billions of dollars will help affected communities dig out of the opioid addiction epidemic, and the injunctive measures will prevent corporations from repeating the same conduct with dispensing practices and throw a desperately needed lifeline to the problem of future addictions.”

Funds from government opioid lawsuit settlements are earmarked for battling the opioid crisis through treatment, education, and prevention.

Mougey expressed his confidence that the landmark settlements will help put local governments and states back on track and better equip them to handle the opioid epidemic. However, he tapered this optimism with a somber warning:

“Corporate misconduct will continue to repeat until we begin to hold individuals accountable. At this juncture in our legal history, it’s the corporations, meaning the shareholders, who pay for egregious misconduct like what we have seen with Big Pharma and the opioids crisis. Individuals within these corporations are not held civilly or criminally accountable. Until this changes, the cycle of profit over safety will continue to spin."

LPR Helped Initiate the National Opiate MDL:

LPR’s representation of more than 700 local government clients helped create momentum for the establishment of the national opioid litigation. Unlike other national litigations where cities and counties can be left behind, local governments led to the way in the opioid litigation seeking to bring treatment
resources to their communities.

LPR Attorneys Serve as Leaders in the Opiate MDL:

LPR Attorneys were appointed to many formal and informal leadership positions within the MDL. Judge Polster appointed Mougey a member of the Plaintiffs Executive Committee (PEC) and LPR Attorney Troy Rafferty a liaison counsel. Mougey and Rafferty were also appointed to the Negotiation Committee. The PEC appointed LPR attorneys to leadership positions across all spectrums of the litigation:

* Co-Lead of the Distributor and Dispensing Case: Mougey
* Lead Counsel for Walgreens: Mougey and LPR Attorney Jeff Gaddy
* ARCOS and Data Management: Mougey and LPR Attorney Page
* Co-Lead and Member of Law and Briefing: LPR Attorney Laura Dunning
and Poerschke

LPR Used Trial Pressure to Motivate Settlements:

The settlements would not have been possible without the trial pressure LPR and other leading firms applied.

San Francisco v. Walgreens:
Mougey was a co-lead trial counsel in San Francisco’s trial against Walgreens (3:18-cv-07591), and Gaddy, Poerschke, and Dunning assisted in preparing and presenting the Walgreens case. At the conclusion of the liability phase of that trial, federal Judge Charles Breyer issued a scathing order finding Walgreens liable for substantially contributing to the opioid epidemic in San Francisco. Walgreens subsequently settled the San Francisco case, and the national settlement began to come together soon after.

LPR Attorneys Mougey, Gaddy, Poerschke, and Dunning led the liability case against Walgreens for all 3,000 mdl cases. Walgreens liability depositions taken by Mougey and Gaddy have played in every trial against Walgreens in federal and state court.

New Mexico v. Walgreens:

Mougey and Gaddy again turned on the trial pressure in the State of New Mexico's trial against Walgreens (D-101-CV-201702541), for which both attorneys were co-leads. Walgreens agreed to a $500-million settlement for its reckless distribution of dispensing opioids, which facilitated the State's opioid addiction crisis.

“The New Mexico settlement is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, separate settlements ever obtained from a single opioid defendant in the U.S., and it is the largest Attorney General settlement in New Mexico history,” Gaddy stated in a separate announcement.

LPR Used Big Data Like it Had Never Been Used Before:

Mougey knew that data would expose the supply chain and show probable cause. Once the MDL was established, Mougey was one of the attorneys who spearheaded negotiations with the DOJ and DEA in an attempt to secure access to the government’s Automated Reports and Consolidated Ordering System (ARCOS). When these efforts were unsuccessful, Mougey was one of the lead attorneys who argued the issues before Judge Poster, which resulted in the judge ordering the DEA to produce the ARCOS data to the PEC.

Although ARCOS had been designed as a failsafe for tracking controlled substances, the system revealed acts of collusion, with drug companies marketing aggressively and directly to pharmacies that brought in the most opioid sales, while distributors looked the other way. LPR spearheaded the processing and analysis of over 1 billion lines of AROCS data. This work resulted in creating and publicizing reports for the more than 3,000 counties in the country to provide transparency regarding the manufacturers, distributors, and pharmacies who were responsible for the pills in those counties. LPR worked to generate reports from ARCOS. Mougey's ability to simplify complex data and weave it into a comprehensible story that brought drug companies to the negotiating table.

LPR Attorney Mougey Was A Lead Negotiator Behind the Billion-Dollar Deals:

The agreement took years of negotiations, according to Mougey, who was one of the lead negotiators on the deal. Mougey, along with other members of the PEC’s Negotiation Committee, led the settlement negotiations on behalf of more than 3,000 communities that comprised the the federal opioid litigation.

(Read the full story of settlement negotiations here.)

Sara Stephens
Levin Papantonio Rafferty
+1 281-744-6560
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