Tennessee Supreme Court Declines to Hear Big Pharma Appeal on I-75 Corridor Opioid Suit

Feb 24, 2020 | Branstetter Stranch & Jennings

Lawsuit cleared to move forward in litigation

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — On Monday, Feb. 24, it was announced that the Tennessee Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from multiple opioid producer defendants that would have provided another opportunity for those companies to argue that they should be dismissed from the I-75 Corridor opioid lawsuit.

Instead, the court’s action preserves a previous finding in the court of appeals that the case should move forward, and effectively affirms plaintiffs’ legal theories.

Companies seeking the appeal included Mallinckrodt LLC, Endo Health Solutions, Inc., Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.

“This is a significant milestone in this case and yet another confirmation of our cause,” said Jared Effler, district attorney general for Tennessee’s Eighth Judicial District. “For more than two years, these companies have been trying to delay and derail this litigation so that they do not have to confront the obvious results of their predatory business practices. We are determined to hold them accountable for the harm they have caused and return any financial settlement to the Tennessee cities and counties where the damage has been done.”

Following the decision, plaintiffs are advocating for a trial date to be set within months.

The I-75 Corridor lawsuit was initially filed on Sept. 29, 2017, in Campbell County Circuit Court in Jacksboro, Tennessee, by the district attorneys general of Tennessee’s Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Judicial Districts, and later amended to also include the Fourth Judicial District.

The complaint is against prescription opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma, L.P. and its related companies, along with Mallinckrodt LLC, Endo Health Solutions, Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiary, Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. The lawsuit also names two additional plaintiffs, known collectively as Baby Doe, by and through their Guardians Ad Litem. Additional defendants named in the filing include the (now-dissolved) Tennessee Pain Institute (TPI), two former TPI employees and a convicted drug dealer.

Since the 2017 filing, Purdue Pharma, L.P., declared bankruptcy in an effort to settle numerous opioid-related cases nationwide. Claims against Purdue in the case are being pursued in bankruptcy court.

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