Greenfield joins class-action suit against opioid firms

Recorder Staff
Published: 10/18/2017 9:48:42 PM

GREENFIELD — The town of Greenfield is the newest signatory to a class-action lawsuit against the three largest opioid pharmaceutical distributors — McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen.

Spearheaded by Mayor William Martin, the lawsuit is being filed by Levin Papantonio of Pensacola, Fla., and Sweeney Merrigan Law of Boston and Greenfield, founded by Greenfield natives Thomas T. Merrigan, Peter M. Merrigan and J. Tucker Merrigan.

The goal of the lawsuit is to recoup local and town budget dollars spent on law enforcement, needle exchanges, Narcan, education/prevention, treatment costs, etc., and ultimately to develop new policy and law to protect individuals and communities moving forward, according to a news release from the mayor’s office.

“This is a genuine cost to the municipality in both monetary and psychological terms,” Martin is quoted as saying in the release. “As the capital of Franklin County and the provider of multiple county services, from hospitals, courts, corrections facilities, and social support, the Greenfield community must intervene and act for the benefit and survival of individuals, families and the broader community.”

The pharmaceutical distributors face state law liability for negligence. The standard of care is established by the industry standards as outlined in Healthcare Distribution Management Association’s “Guidelines,” the federal statutes and regulations, and by applicable state law. The lawsuit alleges that the named distributors violated this standard of care by breaching their duty to identify and report suspicious opioid orders to the Drug Enforcement Administration or other relevant state agencies.

“The opioid epidemic is hitting Massachusetts communities like Greenfield harder than we could have ever imagined,” Peter M. Merrigan, partner and attorney at Sweeney Merrigan Law, is quoted as saying in the release. “In addition to the emotional pain the epidemic is causing, the rapidly increasing financial costs to Massachusetts city and town budgets is creating long term economic damages. Sweeney Merrigan Law is working with Greenfield and other Massachusetts communities to hold pharmaceutical companies and opioid distributors accountable, to recoup financial losses and ease the ongoing strain on the communities.”

The Levin Papantonio law firm is currently representing numerous governmental agencies against wholesale distributors and manufacturers of opioids in order to recover the damages they have sustained. Based on a long-standing relationship between the firms, Levin Papantonio has partnered with Sweeney Merrigan Law for local representation of Massachusetts towns and cities that want to take action toward stopping the epidemic and recover financial costs.

The firms will host an informational session for interested towns and mayors on Monday at 3 p.m. in Greenfield Town Hall.




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