CITY OF COVINGTON HIRES SUPER LAWYER TEAM TO TAKE ON OPIOID DRUG INDUSTRY;
SEEKS REIMBURSEMENT OF COSTS
The City of Covington hired a local Louisiana law firm, Porteous Hainkel & Johnson LLP to take on America’s pharmaceutical industry for knowingly mislabeling and misrepresenting their opiate-based drugs which have resulted in a spiraling addiction crisis across the nation.
The epidemic has resulted in thousands of deaths and rising costs in safety, public health and other local services needed to treat the problems created, according to Attorney William Lozes.
On January 16, 2018, the Covington City Council gave Mayor Mike Cooper the authority to retain Porteous, Hainkel & Johnson LLP for representation in a civil action lawsuit against opioid manufacturers and distributors.
Porteous, represented by local attorneys Ralph Alexis and Mr. Lozes, is part of a national leadership team of attorneys including Lead Consultant Stuart Smith LLC, Kevin Thompson, Kevin Malone and Kent H. Robbins. Their clients will consist of hospitals, parishes, counties, cities, non-profit health providers, drug rehab centers, coroners, foster care agencies, and other public third-parties like local police departments in states from Missouri, West Virginia, New York, Florida, Ohio, Minnesota and Texas.
“The legal team will help local governments, like Covington, recoup the unreimbursed expenses for dealing with a drug crisis which is reducing American’s life-expectancy and resulting in a death rate out-pacing violent gun deaths in the nation’s largest cities”, said Mr. Lozes.
St. Tammany Parish saw an outbreak of heroin related deaths in January. Covington Police Chief Tim Lentz recently joined police chiefs and sheriffs from around the country at the White House to give a local face to the problem, since death overdoses now out-pace car-related deaths 2-to-1.
“Our law enforcement and criminal justice system is on the frontlines of dealing with the crisis, which is impacting families from every spectrum of our society,” said Mayor Cooper. “We have chosen a local law firm, Porteous Hainkel & Johnson LLP, with 90 years of experience and four offices in Louisiana to help us seek reimbursement for the incredible public costs created by this rampant problem.
“Hopefully, we can recover some of the extensive costs that the City has incurred dealing with this rampant problem and put the money into treatment programs to address the opioid addiction problem firsthand.”
The contracted legal team, along with other top nationally recognized “super lawyers”, have extensive experience prosecuting claims for impacted plaintiffs across the United States.
“Our team is ready to protect the interests of all those who have suffered and will continue to suffer as a result of the callous actions of the drug manufacturers," said Mr. Lozes. “It’s time for the legal and medical professions to stand up and work together to help solve this health crisis.”
“Due to extensive public indebtedness on federal and state levels, it seems reasonable and logical to conclude that those who profit off this health disaster should pay,” said Attorney Smith. “The American civil justice system is well suited for this purpose.”
The team alleges that civil lawsuits brought against the pharmaceutical drug manufacturers, opioid drug distributors and/or wholesalers, and big retail pharmacies are the only way to remedy the prescription opioid drug epidemic.
Prospective plaintiffs include public entities, like, the City of Covington, and private ones such as hospitals, which have massive unreimbursed expenses from opioid-related issues.
The facts presented by the law group and its medical expert Dr. Brent Bell, PA-C/Radiation Oncology, are astounding:
•Prescription opioids killed almost twice as many people in the U.S. as heroin in 2014, and surpass car accident deaths in the U.S;
•Nearly 100 Americans die every day from opioid overdoses, and half of all overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid;
•91% of persons who have a non-fatal overdose of opioids are prescribed opioids again within one year;
•7 in 10 opioids overdoses that are treated in an ER are for prescription opioids;
•The Centers for Disease Control in 2016 disputed pharmaceutical company claims that opiate addiction is not possible in patients with chronic pain;
•CDC and Federal Drug Administration guidelines in 2016 also stated that the benefits of high opiate dosage for chronic pain are not established and not proven to increase patient function or have a long-term benefit in reducing pain.
“America’s opioid crisis has resulted in huge and non-reimbursable expenses related to ER visits, training costs, lost employee productivity due to addiction, increased need for police resources, and the underreported impact on foster care where one-third of all children entering are from drug addicted households,” said Mr. Lozes.
“Facts show that pharmaceutical drug companies and their distribution partners exaggerated the benefits of opioids, downplayed risks and consequences, knew the drugs were being overly prescribed, yet failed to warn doctors of the extremely addictive nature of the narcotics and the need to strictly limit and monitor the dose,” said Mr. Smith.
The lawsuits also focus on distributors’ violation of the Controlled Substances Act by failing to report the unusual patterns associated with the opioid purchases and use. The attorneys point to multiple on-the-record admissions of wrongdoing by many manufacturers and distributors of opioids. Many of these target defendants have pled guilty to criminal violation and/or paid massive fines; their liability is unquestioned, according to Mr. Smith.
“We’re proud to represent the City of Covington and others in Louisiana,” said Mr. Lozes. “It’s time to help those like Chief Lentz, who are putting their lives on the line through programs like Operation Angel to deal with a problem that clearly has been created in the name of profit.”
For more information contact: Attorney William Lozes in Covington, firstname.lastname@example.org, 985-246-7444 and Ralph Alexis in New Orleans, email@example.com, 504-581-3838.
For media interviews: C. Brylski/D. Johnson (504) 897-6110