St. Louis County Attorney Mark Rubin announced today that last Friday his office filed an amended complaint that expands its civil case against drug companies implicated in the opioid epidemic. County Attorney Rubin says the new complaint expands St. Louis County’s case in three ways:
First, it adds state-law claims against more manufacturer defendants, including companies within the Mallinckrodt and Actavis enterprises, more companies within the Purdue and Teva enterprises, and three individual members of the Sackler family, owners of Purdue.
Second, unlike the original complaint, which was limited to manufacturers, the amended complaint adds state-law claims against opioids distributors, including large national distributors McKesson, Amerisource Bergen, and Cardinal Health, and regional distributors Dakota Drug and two Walmart-affiliated companies.
Third, the amended complaint includes new claims against certain defendants under a federal law known as the Racketeer Influences and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), which provides for the recovery of triple damages and attorneys’ fees under certain circumstances.
According to Nick D. Campanario, the Assistant St. Louis County Attorney assigned to the case, the original complaint against Purdue, Teva, Janssen, and Endo was filed last year in State District Court but the case was later moved to Federal District Court in Cleveland, Ohio, which is now the forum for approximately 1400 cases brought by states, counties, cities, and other plaintiffs from across the nation.
The first round of trials in Federal District Court, in cases brought by two Ohio counties, is scheduled to begin on October 21, 2019. St. Louis County’s case and nearly all of the other cases pending in Federal District Court will remain on hold until the first round of trials is completed, added Assistant County Attorney Campanario.