September 8, 2023  |  Press Releases

The massive settlement will aid state and local governments across the nation in their recovery efforts from the devastating effects of the opioid crisis.

DALLAS – Today, the nationally recognized attorneys at Baron & Budd announced a $1.4 billion nationwide settlement agreement with retail pharmacy giant Kroger concerning the company’s role in the opioid epidemic. Baron & Budd’s President and Managing Shareholder, Russell Budd, played a lead role in negotiating the settlement. When added to the previous settlements obtained from opioids manufacturers, distributors, and pharmacies, this $1.4 billion settlement with Kroger brings the total national settlement value to nearly $61.4 billion.

While Kroger is typically known as a grocery store, the company has more than 2,000 pharmacies within its stores nationwide. During the multi-year litigation, the plaintiffs (States, cities, and counties) argued that Kroger, in operating its pharmacies, failed to comply with its “corresponding responsibility” obligations. Retail pharmacies, such as Kroger, are required under federal and state law to refuse to fill opioid prescriptions with red flags indicating that the drugs may not be for a legitimate medical purpose, unless the red flags can be resolved.

The plaintiffs also argued that Kroger failed to comply with state and federal laws regarding “suspicious orders” with respect to its distributor operations concerning opioid drugs. When corporations distribute opioids through their own distribution network, they are required to monitor, detect, investigate, and report suspicious opioid orders.

“The opioid crisis has damaged and taken so many lives and put an enormous financial burden on families and entire communities. This settlement, along with the others, will help put our country on a path to recovery,” said Russell Budd.

For more than a decade, opioid painkillers have flooded the country by corporate actors that have placed profits over patient safety, resulting in an epidemic of opioid overdose deaths and addiction. Prescription opioid supply and dispensing is a primary driver of the opioid epidemic, and increased volume is causally associated with the explosion of heroin and fentanyl use, and related harms, including the high rates of OUD (opioid use disorder), overdoses, opioid-related-mortality, hospitalization rates, foster care placements, child exposure to parental opioid abuse, and NAS (neonatal abstinence syndrome).

Baron & Budd Opioid Litigation Team

Baron & Budd attorneys represent municipalities, states, cities, counties, and tribal nations across the country in the complex opioid litigation. The firm started the opioid multidistrict litigation (MDL) and is part of the team which filed one of the first lawsuits against the drug distributors. Our attorneys co-led the first AG trial to be completed against the pharmacies, and have helped communities hold pharmacies, distributors, and manufacturers accountable for the opioid epidemic in the United States.

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About Baron & Budd, P.C.

Baron & Budd, P.C. is among the largest and most accomplished plaintiffs’ law firms in the country. With more than 40 years of experience, Baron & Budd has the expertise and resources to handle complex litigation throughout the United States. As a law firm that takes pride in remaining at the forefront of litigation, Baron & Budd has spearheaded many significant cases for hundreds of public entities and tens of thousands of individuals. Since the firm was founded in 1977, Baron & Budd has achieved substantial national acclaim for its work on cutting-edge litigation, trying hundreds of cases to verdict and settling tens of thousands of cases in areas of litigation as diverse and significant as dangerous and highly addictive pharmaceuticals, defective medical devices, asbestos and mesothelioma, wildfires, environmental contamination, fraudulent banking practices, e-cigarettes, motor vehicles, federal whistleblower cases, and other consumer fraud issues. 

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