Lawsuit Seeks Recovery of Taxpayer Monies Spent Combating the Opioid Epidemic Wreaking Havoc on the Cannon County Community; Cannon Joins Other Tennessee Cities and Counties Fighting For Justice After Opiate Drug Devastation

SAN FRANCISCO—(BUSINESS WIRE)—Mark Chalos, of the national plaintiffs’ law firm Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, announces that Cannon County, Tennessee has filed a lawsuit against prescription opioid manufacturers and distributors to recover taxpayer money spent to combat the opioid epidemic that is devastating the Cannon County community. This case arises out of the worst man-made epidemic in modern medical history—the misuse, abuse, and over-prescription of opioid prescription drugs.

Cannon County Commission Chairman Mark Barker notes, “Rural counties like Cannon County have been especially hard hit by the opioid epidemic and have incurred expenses that should be borne by the industry that has reaped the historic profits from this crisis.”

The complaint alleges that defendants, including Purdue Pharma, Endo Pharmaceuticals, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Teva, Cephalon, and numerous others, conspired to manufacture and distribute millions of doses of highly addictive opioids, knowing that they were being trafficked and used for illicit purposes, in reckless disregard of the devastating effect of these drugs on the taxpayers and government of Cannon County. As a result of this conspiracy and in order to care for and protect the members of its community, Cannon County unexpectedly had to and continues to spend funds on a vast array of support services to fight the opioid epidemic’s staggering, unanticipated, and far-reaching effects.

“The burden of the costs of this fight against the opioid drug catastrophe created by the multi-billion dollar opioids industry has fallen almost entirely on taxpayers in Tennessee, here those in Cannon County,” notes Chalos, a lead attorney in the case and managing partner of Lieff Cabraser’s Nashville office. “Holding these wrongdoers accountable in federal court is the most efficient avenue to ensuring that Cannon County can effectively and appropriately participate in the national discussion about recovering tax payer money and reaching meaningful, long-term solutions to the opiate drug crisis plaguing our country.”

The suit is filed on behalf of Cannon County to bring the pernicious march of the opioid epidemic to a halt and to hold defendants responsible for the crisis they caused. The complaint alleges claims against the named pharmaceutical manufacturers of prescription opioid drugs for, among other things, engaging in false marketing campaigns to drastically expand the market demand for the drugs; methodically, continually, and falsely asserting the risk of addiction was low when opioids were used to treat chronic pain, and overstating the benefits and trivializing the risk of long-term use of opioids. The complaint also charges that entities in the supply chain failed to design and operate systems to identify and stop suspicious orders of prescription opioids, thereby contributing to the oversupply of these drugs.

The named Defendants include Purdue Pharma and related entities, Endo Health Solutions, Par Pharmaceutical Companies, Janssen Pharmaceuticals and related entities, Noramco, Inc., Johnson & Johnson, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Cephalon, Inc., Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Actavis LLC, Watson Pharmaceuticals, Watson Laboratories, Insys Therapeutics, Allergan PLC, McKesson Corporation, Mallinckrodt PLC, AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation, SpecGx LLC, Cardinal Health, Inc. and additional affiliated businesses and entities.

“The cities, counties, and other municipalities overwhelmed by the deprivations of the opioid crisis have no other recourse in trying to combat this industry-driven ruination of individuals and whole communities,” states Kenny Byrd, another Lieff Cabraser partner representing the Cannon County plaintiffs. “The time has come for distributors and manufacturers of these destructive opioid pills to face justice with full accountability for their predatory, profit-obsessed conduct.”

Cannon County, TN

Cannon County, Tennessee is at the center of the opioid epidemic that plagues that nation. It is a vibrant, growing county in the Nashville metropolitan area. Because of its key location on a historically important highway, Cannon County, including its county seat, Woodbury, has served as a hub of commercial and artistic activity. Today, Cannon is recognized as an important regional center for folk decorative arts. Cannon also has a proud tradition of its citizens serving our country in the armed forces.

Relief Sought in Cannon County’s Opioids Lawsuit

Cannon County alleges claims for racketeering, conspiracy, mail and wire fraud, public nuisance, negligence, and unjust enrichment, and seeks all legal and equitable relief as allowed by law under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”) and Tennessee statutory and common law. The Complaint seeks repayment of costs associated with the opioid epidemic in Cannon County, including actual damages, treble damages, equitable relief, forfeiture as deemed proper by the Court, attorney’s fees and all costs and expenses of suit and pre- and post-judgment interest.

According to the Centers for Diseases Controls, in recent years, the number of opioid prescriptions in Cannon County has consistently exceeded one prescription for each man, woman and child in the county. The opioid prescription rate in Cannon County has been at times more than 80% higher than the national average.

Learn more about Lieff Cabraser’s work on behalf of city and county governments in the opioid litigation.

About Lieff Cabraser

Recognized as “one of the nation’s premier plaintiffs’ firms” by The American Lawyer and as a “Plaintiffs’ Powerhouse” by Law360, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP is a 70-plus attorney law firm with offices in San Francisco, New York, and Nashville. Lieff Cabraser has filed similar cases on behalf of Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County (Nashville) and Smith County, Tennessee, and represents other counties and cities within Tennessee and outside of Tennessee in opioids-related litigation. Our firm has successfully represented tens of thousands of injured individuals in complex and mass tort litigation, and thousands of patients across America in individual lawsuits over the injuries they suffered from defective prescription drugs. Five times in the last seven years, U.S. News and Best Lawyers have named Lieff Cabraser as their “Law Firm of the Year” for representing plaintiffs in class actions and mass torts.


Mark P. Chalos
Managing Partner, Nashville Office
Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP

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