Van Zandt DA Chris Martin Announces Opioid Lawsuit Against Pharmaceutical Companies

February 08, 2018

Van Zandt County, represented by the team of the Dallas-based law firm Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett, P.C. and Tyler, Texas-based law firm Martin Walker, P.C., has filed a lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies for their role in the opioid painkiller epidemic afflicting the East Texas County.

The lawsuit against more than a half-dozen companies and their affiliates or subsidiaries was filed Jan. 2 in Van Zandt County’s 294th District Court in Canton. Simon Greenstone and Martin Walker collectively represent more than 30 additional counties in Texas and other states in similar litigation.

“The damage inflicted both physically and financially by the opioid crisis is staggering,” said Jeffrey Simon, co-founder and shareholder of Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett, P.C. “It is time to hold the pharmaceutical industry accountable for its role in creating this epidemic.”

According to the lawsuit, Van Zandt County resources have been strained by efforts to combat the impact of opioid abuse within the county, including increased health care and demands on community services, such as courts, child services, treatment centers and law enforcement. Although opioids were once tightly regulated, beginning in the late 1990s, the pharmaceutical industry made a dedicated push to encourage doctors to expand the prescription of the powerful painkillers, promoting the claim that opioids were a safe, non-addictive means to treat even moderate chronic pain on a long-term basis.

“Through the sales of opioids, the pharmaceutical industry has reaped significant economic benefits over the past two decades. However, local governments with modest resources are struggling to find a way to pay for the damages that these companies have caused,” said Van Zandt District Attorney Chris Martin. “This is a no risk case for Van Zandt County. We taxpayers are not responsible for any of the litigation costs and bear no liability if the case fails. We are confident that the law firms we have selected to represent the County will fight hard to help us recoup taxpayer money that has been consumed by the opioid crisis,” Martin stated.

The case is County of Van Zandt vs. Purdue Pharma, L.P., et al, No. 17-00302. Also listed as defendants are Purdue Pharma Inc.; The Purdue Frederick Company; Johnson & Johnson; Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc.; Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. n/k/a Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc.; Janssen Pharmaceutica Inc. n/k/a Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc.; Endo Health Solutions Inc.; Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc.; Abbvie Inc.; Knoll Pharmaceutical Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Abbvie Inc.; Allergan PLC f/k/a Actavis PLC; Allergan Finance LLC f/k/a Actavis Inc. f/k/a Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc.; Watson Laboratories Inc.; Actavis LLC; Actavis Pharma Inc. f/k/a Watson Pharma Inc.; McKesson Corp.; Cardinal Health Inc.; AmerisourceBergen Corp.; and Does 1-100, inclusive.

Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett, P.C. is a nationally recognized trial law firm with a reputation for creative and aggressive representation of clients in a wide variety of catastrophic personal injury matters nationwide.

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