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

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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), 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 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 Poerschke

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, 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, 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 Activated a Spirit of Collaboration

LPR attorneys were smart enough to know they needed more help, so they crafted a collaboration of ace law firms and their attorneys: Baron & Budd, Farrell & Fuller, McHugh Fuller, Hill Peterson, Carper Bee & Dietzler, and Powell & Majestro.

The complexity of the prescription opiates MDL made communication and organization of paramount importance. According to Mougey, the seamless teamwork with the MDL’s Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee (PEC) enabled swift and efficient administration of the litigation’s multiple moving parts.

The spirit of collaboration even extended to the States Attorneys General, city and county governments and plaintiff firms. “Only with such committed cooperation could we tackle the nationwide aspect of our strategy,” Mougey said. “And that’s the only way we could create the transformational change and reform we were seeking.”

LPR Used Big Data Like it Had Never Been Used Before

Mougey knew that data would tell an important story; one that 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 the those counties.

LPR worked to generate reports from ARCOS to assist with market share analysis, the naming of defendants, granting public access, and settlement.

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 federal opioid litigation.

Mougey was intimately involved in finalizing and implementing the Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, Teva, and Allergan settlement agreements. He worked with the PEC, Defendants, and Attorneys General to finalize a national tier structure for the settlement that gained support and approval from all stakeholders. This structure involved increasing the amount of guaranteed money given to municipalities as more agreed to the deal.

Mougey and LPR attorneys organized and ran the PEC’s national settlement participation process, which maximized the incentive-based settlement. The LPR opioid litigation team developed and rolled out a comprehensive national reporting infrastructure to track participation in the settlement nationally. LPR and Mougey used this system to encourage participation of local governments across the country, and created a central hub to address questions or concerns raised by local governments and their counsel regarding the settlement.

Mougey’s efforts led to over 95% of litigating local governments across the country opting in to the settlements.

”If there was ever any doubt as to the strength and power of this settlement, it vanished that day,” Mougey said.

About Levin Papantonio Rafferty

The Levin Papantonio Rafferty law firm has been representing injured people across the globe since 1955. The firm has gained national recognition as one of the most successful personal injury firms in the world and has been featured on CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox, as well as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Time Magazine, Forbes, and National Law Journal.

Levin Papantonio Rafferty attorneys handle lawsuits throughout the country involving prescription drugs, medical devices, medical malpractice, car accidents, and business litigation. Levin Papantonio Rafferty has earned more than$30 billion in jury verdicts and settlements, litigating against some of the largest corporations in the world.

For questions about the firm’s legal practice, call (800) 277-1193.

To interview LPR Attorneys Peter Mougey or Jeff Gaddy, contact: Sara Stephens | | 281-744-6560