Baron & Budd’s Burton LeBlanc Discusses Opioid Litigation
Attorney Burton LeBlanc of Baron & Budd was quoted in a recent Law.com article on litigation stemming from the opioid epidemic that has gripped the United States. According to the article, opioid overdoses killed more than 183,000 people from 1999-2015. Cities and counties across the country are filing lawsuits against drug manufacturers, distributors and others in order to recoup the money they’ve spent dealing with this tragedy.
Similarities and Differences to Big Tobacco Litigation
The article details how there are some similarities between the opioid cases and lawsuits filed against tobacco companies in the 1990s. Those lawsuits led to a nearly $250 billion settlement in 1998. Both cases involve public entities taking action against corporations, alleging they concealed the dangers of an addictive substance that led to a massive public health problem.
However, there are substantial differences between the two cases. According to the article, the opioid litigation will likely be much more complex than the tobacco cases. The main reason is that there are many more plaintiffs. In order to make the process of opioid litigation more efficient, a group of attorneys – including Baron & Budd president and managing shareholder Russell Budd – is proposing that all opioid lawsuits be coordinated in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) proceeding.
As LeBlanc explained in the article, consolidating the cases as an MDL could help manage a situation that could otherwise become very unwieldy and expensive. LeBlanc said he hopes attorneys handling these opioid cases organizing their efforts will work together to hold the industry accountable for its actions.
Baron & Budd is representing several governmental entities across the country in lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies. We are working to help them recover their costs borne from the opioid crisis. These include law enforcement, addiction treatment, education and other expenses.