Judge Denies Big Pharma Attempt to Name Cities, Counties in Opioid Countersuit

Aug 7, 2018 | Branstetter Stranch & Jennings, Sullivan Baby Doe

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Second Judicial District Chancellor E.G. Moody issued rulings today on multiple motions and complaints related to the Sullivan Baby Doe suit, including consideration of a third-party complaint brought as a countersuit by opioid manufacturers Endo and Mallinckrodt.

The third-party complaint alleged, among other things, that cities and counties could be named as defendants in opioid litigation under the Drug Dealer Liability Act (DDLA) and held accountable for not allocating enough resources to combat the epidemic. It also leveled claims of accountability at regional law enforcement for not doing enough to prevent prescription opioids from entering the illegal drug trade.

Moody dismissed the significant majority of the suit’s claims, affirming in his comments that the DDLA does not apply to governmental entities or localities, and that outside parties cannot dictate how government entities allocate resources intended for the protection of the public. With specific regard to a list of non-governmental parties that included suspected online drug dealers and pill mills, Moody allowed claims to stand, but stayed proceedings other than to serve notice to defendants.

“We’re very pleased with Judge Moody’s decisions in the courtroom today,” says J. Gerard Stranch, managing partner for Nashville, Tennessee-based law firm Branstetter, Stranch & Jennings, PLLC. “His dismissal of the countersuit’s central claims shows that they were largely without merit, other than to share information about suspected drug dealers that we have asked them to provide all along. This was nothing more than a stunt by these companies to intimidate others and an attempt to distract from their own wrongdoing. We look forward to the continuation of discovery and to trying the Sullivan Baby Doe suit in court.”

Moody also:

  • Dismissed a request for interlocutory appeal filed by the producer defendants;
  • Granted a motion by the plaintiffs to compel Endo to cooperate in the discovery process, and;
  • Took under advisement requests related to testimony provided by Abdelrahman Mohamed, M.D., pending his deposition in the current case.

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