Quotes by Prosecuting Officials
Santa Clara County Counsel James R. Williams:
“We are proud to have filed the nation’s first government-initiated lawsuit against opioid manufacturers for their role in creating the crisis of opioid addiction, abuse, and overdose death that plagues our communities. Defendants deceived the public about the real dangers of opioids, putting profit before the public’s health. After seven years of hard-fought litigation, we look forward to proving our case at trial, holding these manufacturers accountable, and securing much needed relief to address the ongoing opioid crisis in our communities.”
Oakland City Attorney Barbara J. Parker:
“The opioid epidemic is real—and it’s no accident. This crisis was ignited and has been fueled by opioid manufacturers, among others, valuing profits over people’s lives. Make no mistake: this crisis is more urgent now than ever before. The opioids epidemic has surged in the past year, as the COVID-19 global pandemic has multiplied the existing opioid epidemic’s decimating effects on historically marginalized people and communities. In California alone, the CDC recently revealed that fatal drug overdoses increased by 40% last year. Addressing this crisis is not optional, and the defendants who contributed to the epidemic must be part of the solution. We can and will address this crisis through treatment, first responder, and preventive services and programs—but only if these defendants pay their fair share to abate the catastrophe they helped create.”
June 6, 2021 – Statement by Counsel for the People of the State of California regarding Orange County Superior Court Judge Peter J. Wilson’s decision to preserve the People’s public nuisance claims against all defendants:
Yesterday, the court rejected the opioid manufacturers’ attempt to cut short trial and duck accountability for their role in the opioid epidemic.
In only the second trial of its kind nationwide, the People have shown that defendants’ aggressive marketing campaign — which downplayed the risks and overplayed the benefits of opioid use – helped drive up the market for highly addictive opioids and ignite a public health crisis. Trial testimony from medical experts, researchers, front-line physicians, and first responders confirmed the public health devastation that persists in California communities because of the manufacturers’ wrongful conduct.
The People look forward to continuing this trial, holding the defendants responsible for the significant harms they have caused, and working to abate the opioid crisis in our communities.
The People of the State of California are represented by the offices of the Santa Clara County Counsel, the Orange County District Attorney, the Los Angeles County Counsel and the Oakland City Attorney; as well as by Motley Rice LLC, Skikos Crawford Skikos & Joseph LLP and Robinson Calcagnie Inc.