City of Louisville, Ky. and Legal Counsel Baron & Budd, Greene Ketchum, Levin Papantonio File Suit Against Pharmaceutical Distributors for Role in Creating Opioid Crisis

August 22, 2017  |  Press Releases, Public Entities

City officials allege Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen, McKesson Corp. responsible for growing drug epidemic

DALLAS – August 22, 2017 – Today, the national law firm of Baron & Budd; the law firm of Greene, Ketchum, Farrell, Bailey & Tweel LLP; and the law firm of Levin Papantonio, announced that they have filed a new lawsuit on behalf of Louisville, Ky., against the nation’s largest pharmaceutical distributors for their role in the widespread diversion of prescription opiates for nonmedical purposes.

In the suit, the City of Louisville alleges that three of the largest pharmaceutical distributors in the U.S. – Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen, and McKesson Corp. – each played a role in creating a public nuisance by failing to regulate orders of prescription opiates. The case was filed Monday, August 21, in federal district court in the Western District of Kentucky (Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government v. AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation et al: Case No.: 3:17-CV-508-JHM).

“The residents of Louisville have been forced to bear the burden of the deeply heartbreaking and expensive opioid epidemic,” said Baron & Budd Shareholder, Burton LeBlanc. “The reality is shutting down pill mills is only one step toward controlling the problem, as heroin and fentanyl often take the place of prescription opioids. As a result, the costs associated with treatment for addiction, education and law enforcement are continuing to spiral out of control.”

Louisville, which is the county seat of Jefferson County and the largest city in Kentucky, is facing a growing number of opioid-related overdose cases. According to city data, EMS crews in Louisville were dispatched to more than 4,200 suspected overdose incidents in the first five months of 2017, which represents about 1,000 more overdose cases than during the same time period in 2016 and more than double the number of overdose cases in 2015.

Between 2012 and 2017, more than 197 million doses of prescription opioids, including hydrocodone, oxycodone, tramadol, and oxymorphone, were dispensed in Jefferson County, which has a population of approximately 760,000 people. That is more than 258 doses of prescription opioids for every man, woman, and child in Jefferson County, Kentucky.

Last week, the firms filed similar lawsuits on behalf of the City of Cincinnati and the City of Birmingham, Alabama, as well as the City of Portsmouth, Ohio which was featured in the award-winning book, Dreamland, which detailed how the city was devastated by a flood of prescription pain medications and heroin. The firms also represent seven Ohio counties including Scioto, Jackson and Ross, as well as Vinton, Belmont, Clermont, and Brown Counties.

In addition to Greene Ketchum, Levin Papantonio and Baron & Budd, the City is also working with the following law firms related to these cases: Hill, Peterson, Carper, Bee & Deitzler, PLLC; The McHugh Fuller Law Group; and Lancione & Lancione, LLC.


The law firm of Baron & Budd, P.C., with offices in Dallas, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Austin, Los Angeles, and San Diego, is a nationally recognized law firm with a nearly 40-year history of “Protecting What’s Right” for people, communities and businesses harmed by negligence. Baron & Budd’s size and resources enable the firm to take on large and complex cases. The firm represents individuals and government and business entities in areas as diverse as dangerous pharmaceuticals and medical devices, environmental contamination, the Gulf oil spill, financial fraud, overtime violations, deceptive advertising, automotive defects, trucking accidents, nursing home abuse, and asbestos-related illnesses such as mesothelioma.

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