The marathon is a long-distance running event with an official distance of 42.195 kilometres (26 miles and 385 yards), usually run as a road race. The event was instituted in commemoration of the fabled run of the Greek soldier Pheidippides, a messenger from the Battle of Marathon to Athens.
The marathon was one of the original modern Olympic events in 1896, though the distance did not become standardized until 1921. More than 500 marathons are held throughout the world each year, with the vast majority of competitors being recreational athletes as larger marathons can have tens of thousands of participants.
Mark Chalos, Managing Partner of the Nashville office of the national plaintiffs’ law firm Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, and Jonathan Taylor of Taylor & Knight, GP, announce that Scott County, Tennessee, has filed a lawsuit against prescription opioid manufacturers and distributors to recover taxpayer money spent combatting the opioid epidemic wreaking havoc on the Scott County community. The complaint, which was filed in Tennessee federal court, alleges that the named opioid drug manufacturers and distributors and their agents deliberately and repeatedly violated state and federal laws by widely and falsely promoting highly addictive opioids as safe and necessary, all the while concealing the true risks of the drugs.
The complaint also alleges that defendants conspired to manufacture and distribute millions of doses of highly addictive opioids, knowing that they were being trafficked and used for illicit purposes, and recklessly disregarded their devastating effect on the taxpayers and government of Scott County. As a result of the manufacturers’ and distributers’ conduct, Scott County taxpayers have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight the opioid crisis and to address the devastating effects on their community.
“Tax payers in Tennessee have paid more than their fair share to fight the opioids catastrophe created by the multi-billion dollar opioids industry; it’s time the industry paid its fair share,” stated Chalos. “Seeking to hold wrongdoers accountable in federal court is the most effective way to make sure that Scott County has a seat at the table for the discussion about recovering tax payer money and finding long-term solutions to the opioids crisis,” Chalos said.
Mayor Dale Perdue said, “Like so many other cities and communities across the country, the opioid epidemic has been devastating on Scott County. I am hopeful that this lawsuit will allow us to recover the public funds that we have been forced to spend to combat the problems that the opioid manufacturers and distributors are responsible for in our community.”
The named Defendants include Purdue Pharma, Cephalon, Teva Pharmaceutical, Johnson & Johnson, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Noramco Inc., Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Endo Health Solutions, Mallinckrodt, Allergan, Actavis, Watson Pharmaceuticals, Insys Therapeutics, AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation, Cardinal Health, McKesson Corporation, and additional affiliated businesses and entities.
Jonathan Taylor of Taylor & Knight, stated, “The time has come for the manufacturers and distributors of these pernicious opioid pills to face full responsibility for their destructive and predatory conduct. Their actions — and their knowing inactions — have destroyed lives and families across all of Scott County and indeed, across the entirety of the U.S.”
Scott County, TN
Formed in 1849, Scott County has a long history of contributions to America. The County is best known for having seceded from Tennessee in protest of the State’s decision to join the Confederacy during the Civil War, and subsequently forming the Free and Independent State of Scott in 1861. The late Senator Howard Baker, Jr. (1925-2014) is Scott County’s most famous citizen. Known as the “Great Conciliator” in Washington D.C., Senator Baker was the first Republican Senator from Tennessee since Reconstruction, and became the standard-bearer for moderate Republicans. Today, Scott County finds itself at the center of an endless battle to protect all its residents, including its next generation of leaders and citizens, from the opioid epidemic that is taking a daily, deadly toll in Scott County, and counties across the nation.
Opioid Addictions Have Created a Swath of Destruction Across Scott County
As alleged in the Complaint:
Opioids are estimated to kill upwards of 100 Americans per day, and cost health services providers billions of dollars per year both in payments for unnecessary and harmful prescriptions of the drugs themselves and the costs of treating the diseases and injuries they cause. Accidental drug overdose deaths, of which at least two-thirds are opioid-related overdoses, are the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50. Accidental drug overdose deaths, predominantly from opioids, exceed the number of deaths caused by car wrecks or guns. The economic burden caused by opioid abuse in the United States is approximately $78.5 billion, including lost productivity and increased social services, health insurance costs, increased criminal justice presence and strain on judicial resources, and substance abuse treatment and rehabilitation. Opioid manufacturing and distributing companies systematically and repeatedly disregarded the health and safety of their customers and the public. Charged by law to monitor and report dangerous behavior, they failed to do so in favor of maximizing corporate profits and increasing their market share.
The Complaint further alleges that no medical breakthrough or newly-discovered treatment path justified Defendants’ overweening prescription of opioids for chronic pain, but rather that their inflated marketing and sales goals opened the floodgates for expanded opioid use and rampant abuse. “Defendants falsely and misleadingly, and contrary to the language of their drugs’ labels: (1) downplayed the serious risk of addiction; (2) promoted the concept of “pseudoaddiction” and thus advocated that the signs of addiction should be treated with more opioids; (3) exaggerated the effectiveness of screening tools in preventing addiction; (4) claimed that opioid dependence and withdrawal are easily managed; (5) denied the risks of higher opioid dosages; and (6) exaggerated the effectiveness of “abuse-deterrent” opioid formulations to prevent abuse and addiction. Conversely, Defendants also falsely touted the benefits of long-term opioid use, including the supposed ability of opioids to improve function and quality of life, even though there was no good scientific evidence to support Defendants’ claims.”
Relief Sought in Scott County’s Opioids Lawsuit
Scott 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 Scott 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.
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, Nashville, and Seattle. 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 Lawyershave named Lieff Cabraser as their “Law Firm of the Year” for representing plaintiffs in class actions and mass torts.
About Taylor & Knight
Recognized as one of the “Best Law Firms in Tennessee” by the U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers, Taylor & Knight, GP is a comprehensive litigation firm based in Knoxville, Tennessee that concentrates on trial and appellate practice in state and federal court, as well as administrative and mediation proceedings. A substantial portion of Taylor & Knight’s practice is devoted to representing governmental entities such as counties, municipalities, school districts, sheriff’s departments, emergency medical services, and utility districts as well as those entities’ employees, managers, controlling boards, bodies and officials in all areas of governmental liability across East Tennessee. More specifically, Taylor & Knight has had the distinct privilege and honor of successfully defending Scott County, Tennessee and its employees and elected officials in a number of important lawsuits in state and federal courts over the last decade.
HUNTSVILLE, Tenn. (July 12, 2017) — A water bottle filling station is being purchased for each of Scott County’s nine schools, as well as the Boys & Girls Club of the Cumberland Plateau, the Industrial Development Board of Scott County and the Scott County Chamber of Commerce announced today.
The purchases are being funded by grant money through the Tennessee Three Star Community program, which will also be used to purchase each student in Scott County a reusable water bottle.
“This is an exciting step forward for our schools,” said Stacey Swann, executive director of the ID Board. “Any time the IDB and the Chamber of Commerce can partner with our schools to help make improvements for our community’s students, it’s a great day.”
Swann heralded the teamwork at the municipal level that helped make the Three Star grant application successful. She credited Scott County Mayor Dale Purdue, Huntsville Mayor Dennis Jeffers, Oneida Mayor Jack E. Lay and Winfield Mayor David Cecil for their cooperation throughout the grant process. The IDB and the Chamber of Commerce were tasked with completing the extensive legwork required for Scott County to receive recertification as a Three Star community.
“The guidelines for the grant funding that accompanies the Three Star certification changed this year, and the traditional things that money could be spent on were no longer an option,” Swann said. “We put our heads together to come up with a project that would benefit the youth of Scott County and meet the state’s guidelines, and this is what we came up with.”
Water bottle filling stations have become a must-have in public schools in recent years, but tight budgets prevent many schools from making those purchases. Two years ago, parents teamed up to raise funding for a filling station at one local school, but most local schools remain without the filling stations.
Benefits of the water bottle filling stations include providing free water for students whose parents cannot afford to supply them with bottled water, reducing the amount of plastic bottles that are disposed of in landfills and reducing sickness in schools. Traditional water fountains are germ magnets, with the mouths of dozens or even hundreds of students coming into contact with the same metal surface in a single day.
“There is a lot of focus on healthy living right now, both in Tennessee and across the nation,” Swann said. “One key component of healthy living is staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water. It’s exciting that we can offer our students a stylish and free way to refill their water bottles, which will hopefully encourage them to drink more water and fewer sugary drinks.”
Tennessee’s Three Star program requires successful communities to develop and implement strategic plans that focus on five areas: jobs and economic development, fiscal strength and efficient government, public safety, education and workforce development, and health and welfare. The program is administered by the Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development.