Federal judge allows public nuisance claims in opioid suit
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Federal judge allows public nuisance claims in opioid suit

A federal judge in Ohio on Monday denied drug manufacturers and distributors’ request to dismiss the public nuisance claims against them.

A public-nuisance claim can be maintained where the facts establish that the “design, manufacturing, marketing or sale of [a] product unreasonably interferes with a right common to the general public.”

Factual evidence and statistics, such as an unprecedented opioid-related increase in overdose deaths over the last decade, show that the conduct of Purdue Pharma LP, pharmacies such as Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc and drug distributors such as AmerisourceBergen Corp interfered with the right to public safety. The court found that the injuries alleged are expected consequences of manufacturers’ alleged misleading marketing activities and failures to maintain anti-diversion controls.

The court thus denied the motion to dismiss the public nuisance claims, holding that it could be reasonably inferred that manufacturers’ fraudulent marketing and failures to maintain anti-diversion controls were substantial factors in producing the alleged harm suffered by Cuyahoga and Summit counties in Ohio.