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Newtown Township Supervisors Vote to File Civil Lawsuit Against Drug Manufacturers Over Opioid Crisis

Newtown Township Supervisors Vote to File Civil Lawsuit Against Drug Manufacturers Over Opioid Crisis | Newtown News of Interest |

Taking the lead of Bucks County and other state, county and local governments, the board of supervisors voted 4-1 to approve filing a lawsuit against the pharmaceutical industry for manufacturing, distributing and promoting opioids.


At the Dec. 12 meeting, Chairman Phil Calabro, joined by fellow Democrats John Mack, Linda Bobrin and Dennis Fisher voted to approve hiring the New York City-based law firm of Marc J. Bern & Partners, LLP to file the civil action in Bucks County Common Pleas Court.


Republican Supervisors Kyle Davis cast the dissenting vote.


The law firm, which specializes in national personal injury and mass tort cases, will be assisted by attorneys from Cordisco & Saile, LLC, which is based in Doylestown.


“Basically Newtown is making a stand in principle against these manufacturers,” exclaimed Chairman Calabro. “We’re making a statement.”


Newtown Township will not be charged any attorney fees for filing the action, and the law firms will work on a contingency basis which will has yet to be negotiated.


According to township solicitor David Sander, that fee could be as high as 50-percent of any eventual damages awarded, but is usually around 30-35 percent.


He explained that the suit is seeking unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.


“The action is based on the current opioid crises that not only Newtown Township but the rest of the county finds itself in the grasp of,” Sander noted.


“Newtown should stand up and take its place among the many, many other large cities, including Pittsburgh,” he added.


In this area, Philadelphia, as well as Bucks and Delaware counties, have already filed separate lawsuits against the pharmaceutical companies that make and promote prescription opioid drugs.


Meanwhile, Bensalem Township became the first local government in the region to file a similar civil action relating to the crises. More on that here.


These suits allege that manufacturers misled the public about the dangers of prescription opioids and that the drug companies have disregarded their obligation to monitor distribution in the communities and halt any suspicious sales.


“The pharmaceutical industry lied when they said [these drugs] were not habit forming,” claimed Supervisor Mack before Newtown Township’s vote.


Although several supervisors acknowledged that any damages which could eventually come to Newtown Township might be minuscule, the money could be used for treatment.


“Whatever we get, we’ll put it to good use,” Calabro pointed out, “I don’t see a downside to this [lawsuit].”


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