A long-awaited settlement that will bring immediate relief this summer to communities in Ohio and across the country was announced today. The largest distributors of medical products – AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson Corp- together with the Janssen division of Johnson and Johnson have agreed that a sufficient number of states and cities and counties around the country have agreed to join the settlement to result in its finalization. The settlement will pay $26 billion in costs to help remedy the effects of the opioid epidemic. The funds are earmarked for addiction treatment programs, addiction prevention, foster care, and law enforcement costs.
The Spangenberg team, led by Peter H. Weinberger, played a vital role with lawyers from 20 other law firms in bringing about this settlement. The firm’s lawyers were involved in what has been described as the most complex litigation ever brought in federal court. The cases are centralized in Cleveland, Ohio and are managed by U.S. District Judge Dan Polster.
This nationwide settlement is anticipated to be the first of many as the Spangenberg team and others continue to litigate cases against other companies who played a role in the manufacture, marketing, distribution, and dispensing of opioids that so severely effected our communities. It is anticipated that nearly 100,000 will die from opioid overdoses this year.
The documents produced in this litigation, many of which will be publicly available as a result of this settlement, have brought to light how these defendants and others participated in programs to promote the over-prescribing and over dispensing of opioids.
Last fall, Pete Weinberger was involved in the first trial against the national retail pharmacy chains – Walgreens, Walmart, and CVS – which resulted in a successful jury verdict on behalf of two Ohio Counties – Lake and Trumbull. The jury found that these pharmacies engaged in intentional and unlawful conduct that substantially contributed the opioid epidemic in the two counties. A second phase of the trial to determine the counties’ entitlement to monetary remedies is scheduled to begin before Judge Polster on May 10, 2022.