Date: Thursday, March 15, 2018
March 15th, 2018
Julia Halsted Laura Maher Katie Zimmerman
Deputy Administrator Strategic Communications Mgr. Alternative Justice & Outreach
Winnebago County City of Rockford State’s Attorney’s Office
(815) 319-4238 (779) 348-7331 (815) 319-4725
County, City Opioid Litigation filed in U.S. District Court
ROCKFORD, Ill. – Winnebago County, the Winnebago County State’s Attorney and the City of Rockford announce that the County and City have filed lawsuits in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against a number of manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioids.
In January, Winnebago County, the City of Rockford, and State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato announced their intent to file suit against pharmaceutical companies and distributors to hold them accountable for the opioid addiction crisis in Rockford and Winnebago County. With the approval of the County Board and City Council, State’s Attorney Bruscato and the City of Rockford filed suit against more than 20 defendants on Tuesday. City and County officials maintain that opioid manufacturers and distributors not only failed report over prescriptions, as required by federal and state law, they chose to abuse their position by continuing to ship massive quantities of drugs to local pharmacies without performing or reporting any checks. The lawsuits also allege that wholesale distributors and manufacturers have worked cooperatively to maximize the amount of drugs flowing into communities rather than implementing effective controls.
Manufacturers also have a history of drastically under reporting the significant risk of addiction that accompanies the use of these controlled substances thereby increasing consumer demand for them.
The end result of massive quantities of opioids flooding into communities has led to an epidemic of addiction to both prescription opioids and controlled substances such as heroin. The City of Rockford and County of Winnebago have been forced to use taxpayer funds to deal with the fallout of this epidemic.
The County and City are represented by a team of experienced attorneys. Former judge Ann Callis, now a partner at Goldenberg Heller & Antognoli, P.C., a law firm based in Edwardsville, Illinois, leads the team. Judge Callis has experience in Mass Tort litigation targeting pharmaceutical companies. She also served as a Circuit Judge for 18 years including 7 years as Chief Judge. Also leading the litigation team is Peter Mougey, a shareholder with Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor in Pensacola, Florida. Mr. Mougey has been recognized as one of Florida’s top 100 trial lawyers and is the former President of the National Securities Bar Association Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association (PIABA). The City and the County will not pay for legal representation services. Legal fees will be paid from any recovery from the defendants.
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