Sweetwater County Lawsuit Against Oxycontin Maker Transferred to Ohio
The lawsuit filed by Sweetwater County against opioid manufacturers and distributors earlier this month has been transferred to the larger group of similar lawsuits consolidated in the U.S. District Court Northern Ohio, according to federal court records.
The county filed the lawsuit two weeks ago, saying the makers and distributors promoted the use of these prescription drugs such as Oxycontin and fentanyl causing addiction and subsequent social costs, according to the complaint filed by Rock Springs attorney Charles Barnum and Casper attorney Rick Koehmstedt in U.S. District Court.
On Friday, the case was transferred to the U.S. District Court Northern District of Ohio.
The case joins about 1,300 others filed elsewhere by states, counties, municipalities and tribes. The State of Wyoming, Carbon County and the Northern Arapaho Tribe have filed similar lawsuits with the latter two plaintiffs also transferring their cases to the federal court in northern Ohio.
Sweetwater County's lawsuit seeks $10 million in damages, and is filed under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Other causes of action include public nuisance, negligence, abnormally dangerous activity, fraud, and deceptive trade practices.
Sweetwater County's lawsuit asserts the companies began a marketing campaign more than two decades ago that misled doctors and patients into believing that opioids such as oxycodone and oxycontin can be used to treat chronic pain instead of just short-term acute pain or end-of-life pain.
Those social consequences include addicted homeless persons who commit drug and property crimes to feed their addictions, according to the lawsuit.
However, Purdue Pharma has denied the allegations.