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City of Encinitas Files Lawsuit Against Opioid Manufacturers, Distributors, and Related Parties

Encinitas, CA – Similar to other jurisdictions in California and around the country, Encinitas City leaders have directed their City Attorney to file a civil action (lawsuit) in the Superior Court of the State of California against numerous opioid manufacturers and distributors. Acting through the Special Legal Counsel of Robins Kaplan LLP, the City is suing multiple companies and parties in the opioid industry, including the Sackler Family, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries USA Inc., Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc., Allergan Finance LLC, and Mallinckrodt LLC. Opioid distributors were also named in the lawsuit, including Cardinal Health Inc., Amerisource Bergen Corporation, and McKessom Corporation. The City is seeking reparations for loss of resources, economic damages, and damages to the health and welfare of its citizens related to the ongoing opioid crisis.

“This legal action is necessary to stem the tide of opioid addiction in our community,” Mayor Catherine Blakespear stated. “We can no longer stand by and watch our families suffer the consequences of the irresponsible action of these businesses.”

The lawsuit alleges that manufacturers and distributors of opioids engaged in conduct that directly caused doctors to prescribe overwhelming amounts of opioids and intentionally neglected their obligations to prevent diversion of the highly addictive substance.  Specifically, the civil lawsuit includes allegations of public nuisance, fraud, negligence, unjust enrichment, civil conspiracy, false advertising, negligent failure to warn consumers, and fraudulent transfer.

The term “opioid” includes all drugs derived from the opium poppy.  The United States Food and Drug Administration describes opioids as “powerful pain-reducing medications that include prescription oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine, among others, and have both benefits as well as potentially serious risks.  These medications can help manage pain when prescribed for the right condition and when used properly, but when misused or abused, opioids can cause serious harm, including addiction, overdose, and death.”

“This lawsuit will seek to recover costs and tax resources taken from the City and its citizens due to the bad acts of the manufacturers and distributors of opioids who caused this ongoing crisis,” said lead outside counsel, Roman Silberfeld of Robins Kaplan LLP.

Below are statistics specific to opioid overdose and death rates in the City of Encinitas, as compared to the County of San Diego and State of California.

 

Opioid Death Rates (Age-adjusted per 100K)

Prescription Opioid Death Rates (Age- adjusted per 100K)

Heroin Death Rates (Age-adjusted per 100K)

Encinitas

8.52

5.84

2.68

San Diego County

7.84

6.05

1.93

State of California

5.23

3.70

1.70

 

 

Opioid Overdose Rates-Excluding Heroin (Age-adjusted per 100K)

Heroin Overdose Rates (Age-adjusted per 100K)

Opioid Prescription Rates (Age-adjusted per 100K)

Encinitas

19.77

9.51

482.98

San Diego County

12.32

9.02

475.51

State of California

10.31

9.88

508.65

* Data source:  California Opioid Overdose Surveillance Dashboard as of May 6, 2019

Media inquiries about this case should be directed to the lead outside counsel, Roman Silberfeld with Robins Kaplan LLP at (310) 552-0130.

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ABOUT THE CITY OF ENCINITAS

Located along six miles of Pacific Ocean coastline in northern San Diego County, Encinitas has an approximate population of 63,000 and is characterized by coastal beaches, cliffs, flat-topped coastal areas, steep mesa bluffs and rolling hills. The city was incorporated in 1986, drawing together the communities of New Encinitas, Old Encinitas, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Olivenhain and Leucadia.