HOUSTON – The largest city in Texas filed an opioid lawsuit Monday, naming more than two-dozen drug manufactures and distributors in the petition.
Prominent litigator Mark Lanier and his firm, along with several other notable attorneys, are representing the city of Houston.
Some of the defendants named in the 144-page petition include Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson and Actavis.
“The United States is in the midst of an opioid epidemic caused by Defendants’ fraudulent marketing, sales and distribution of prescription opioids that has resulted in addiction, criminal activity and loss of life,” the suit states. “Americans ‘consume 85% of all the opioids in the world’ and are ‘the mist medicated country in the word…’
‘The opioid crisis has been described as ‘the AIDS epidemic of our generation, but even worse.’”
Numerous Texas public entities have already filed opioid suits of their own, including Harris County – the largest county in the state, which is also currently home to the state’s own opioid MDL.
As a result of the opioid crisis, the city claims it has suffered several increased costs to health care, law enforcement and emergency services.
“The harm caused by Defendants’ misconduct can be redressed by the court in this action,” the suit states. “Defendants should be enjoined from continuing to manufacture, distribute and sell opioids in the City of Houston without a medical purpose and without educating physicians and patients about the actual risks and benefits of its drugs.
“Furthermore, Defendants should compensate the city of Houston for the funds it has expended and continues to expend for medical insurance claims for opioids that were not medically necessary, as well as increased costs of social services, health systems, law enforcement, the judicial system and treatment facilities.”
The petition further asserts removal of the suit to a federal court “would be frivolous.”
Along with the Lanier Law Firm, the city is also represented by the Law Office of Richard Schechter, Reich and Binkstock and Baker Wotring.
Filed June 24 in Harris County District Court, case No. 2019-43219