Opioid Litigation

Briol & Benson, PLLC currently represents nine Minnesota counties in litigation concerning the opioid crisis that has severely plagued the country over the last decade. These counties represent 37% of the population of the state of Minnesota. Pharmaceutical companies promoted opioids as safe, effective, and appropriate treatments for long-term, routine pain management. Our clients allege these companies misrepresented the risk of addiction as modest, manageable, and outweighed by the benefits of opioid use. As a result, opioid use skyrocketed. According to the CDC, opioid prescriptions in the United States tripled from 1999 to 2015. On average, more than 650,000 opioid prescriptions were dispensed in the U.S. per day in 2015. Minnesota has not escaped the trend. Opioid-related overdoses are the leading cause of drug-related deaths in Minnesota, with prescription opioids contributing to more deaths than heroin. Our clients have asserted numerous claims against pharmaceutical company defendants, including statutory claims relating to false claims and false advertising, and common law claims for fraudulent misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation, negligent failure to warn, negligence, gross negligence, public nuisance, and unjust enrichment. Our clients also seek punitive damages and injunctive relief in order to prevent this crisis from continuing. Since December 2017, around 900 similar such cases have been transferred into a centralized multidistrict litigation in the Northern District of Ohio. This litigation has been described as the most daunting legal challenge in the country. Three bell weather cases are set for trial in October 2019, while five other cases have been set for motion to dismiss hearings in the upcoming months. All other cases are currently stayed pending the outcomes of the first cases. Briol & Benson’s co-counsel in the representation of these nine Minnesota counties is one of the top class-action firms in the country, Motley Rice in Washington, D.C.