As reported by Law360 (subscription), an Ohio federal judge has denied attempts by Rite Aid, Walmart and other pharmacies to dismiss claims alleging their opioid monitoring systems were not reliable and that their failure to stop opioids from being obtained illegally created a public nuisance.

In an order issued Monday, U.S. District Judge Dan Polster found that the plaintiff counties had shown sufficient evidence to back these allegations, including for example evidence that CVS Health Corp.’s system for suspicious orders was, as noted by Polster, “makeshift, haphazard and ineffectual.”

According to Law360, Judge Polster also noted that between 2006 and 2009, CVS had no formal written procedures to identify suspicious opioid orders and instead relied on employees’ “gut feelings” to identify orders that were too large.

Similarly, Judge Polster said that Walmart Inc. had no written procedures for monitoring suspicious orders until 2011 and he noted that while Rite Aid Corp. had a list of suspicious prescribers, the pharmacy chain never took the proper steps to determine whether orders from those prescribers were suspicious.

Cuyahoga and Summit Counties in Ohio are scheduled to conduct the first trial in the MDL in October 2020, against the pharmacy defendants.

Learn more about the nationwide opioid litigation.

Lieff Cabraser’s Work on Opioid Injury Cases

Lieff Cabraser represents numerous cities, counties, and Native American tribes and health organizations in lawsuits seeking justice from the manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioid drugs for the unprecedented destructive opioid epidemic raging across the U.S. We also serve on the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee and the Tribal Committee in the coordinated federal multidistrict opiate litigation.

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 nationwide on behalf of other counties and cities 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.

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