North Dakota County Joins National Opioid Lawsuit

April 25, 2019

On Tuesday night, the Williams County Commission voted unanimously to join other North Dakota counties in a lawsuit coordinated by Fears Nachawati and a number of other law firms and aimed at drug manufacturers and distributors responsible for the nationwide opioid epidemic. Ahead of the vote, the firm was on hand to brief the commissioners on the rising number of opioid overdoses in Williams County and across the nation.

The county’s decision to join the lawsuit wasn’t an easy one. North Dakota has filed its own lawsuit and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem had previously advised Williams County against joining the nationwide suit. That would have made the county reliant on the state to allocate any damages it collected, a factor which played a role in the county’s decision.

The lawsuit Williams County has agreed to join is different from the state’s in that, rather than target a single company, it names pharmaceutical and pharmacy companies, as well as drug distributors. Should the plaintiffs be successful, they plan on using money collected to help defray the costs the government has shouldered in battling the epidemic, as well as put a plan in place that would change the way opioids are prescribed and would spot and report suspicious orders.

“This is about more than repairing the damage done by these companies,” said Bryan Fears, co-founder of Fears Nachawati. “We have to make sure it doesn’t happen again. That means putting new rules in place and giving agencies like the DEA the power to enforce them.”

The lawsuit Williams County has voted to join, as well as others like it all over the nation, are gaining steam, and pharmaceutical companies are beginning to feel the pressure. On Tuesday, it was announced that federal prosecutors had brought drug trafficking charges against distributor Rochester Drug Cooperative and its former CEO.

You can learn more about what Fears Nachawati is doing to lead the fight against opioids here.

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