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Posted on: May 14, 2018

City of Hagerstown Files Complaint in U.S. District Court Against Opioid Manufacturers and Distribu

Attorney Bruce Poole filed suit today on behalf of the City of Hagerstown against opioid manufacturers and distributors for the damage they have caused the city. The suit was filed in Federal District Court in Baltimore. The complaint asks that opioid manufacturers and distributors be made to pay the City for the expenses that the City taxpayers have had to bear and will bear in the future. The suit also asks that the court order manufacturers and distributors to change how opioids are marketed, sold and distributed within the City, with the goal being a steep reduction.

One hundred sixteen (116) Americans die each day from opioids. The epidemic is considered the worst in U.S. history. It is believed to have cost taxpayers $1 trillion since 2001  (Altarum Institute, 2018). Public officials say the epidemic will cost an additional $500 million over the next 3 years.

Washington County and Hagerstown have an acute problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Washington County ranks third highest in the state for excessive prescriptions. In 2016, there were 113 prescriptions written for every 100 said citizens.  As perspective, there were more prescriptions written than people living in the county.

In March, the Mayor and Council approved hiring a team of law firms to bring the litigation. The team is comprised of Baron & Budd, PC, Levin Papantonio, et. al., Greene, Ketchum, Farrell, Bailey & Tweel, LLP, Hill, Peterson, Carper, Bee & Deitzler, PLLC, McHugh Fuller Law Group, Powell & Majestro, PLLC, with The Poole Law group serving as Maryland counsel. As part of a national effort, the suit will be combined with other similar cases and sent initially to federal court in Ohio under what is known as a multi-district litigation (MDL). If the cases do not settle, then Hagerstown's case will be brought back to Maryland for trial.

By the terms of the arrangement, the case will not cost the City any taxpayer funds. Instead, the trial team will bear the expense of litigation and only get reimbursed if it is successful; by contract, all expenses and fees are capped.

For more information, contact…
D. Bruce Poole, Esq.
THE POOLE LAW GROUP
29 W. Franklin St
Hagerstown, MD 21740
Kathy.Poole@poolelg.com
(301) 790-3600 (office)
(301) 714-0082 (fax)

City Media Contact for this litigation effort:  Councilmember Emily Keller (ekeller@hagerstownmd.org)

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