The city of Boston has retained a law firm to sue pharmaceutical companies to recover damages from the opioid epidemic, Mayor Marty Walsh announced on Tuesday.
Boston has tapped Motley Rice LLC for the litigation against opioid manufacturers, distributors and dispensaries.
Walsh announced that he was considering suing pharmaceutical companies for their role in the deadly opioid epidemic in January and issued a Request for Information to hear from law firms, researches and others who could help inform the city’s approach.
Motley Rice will now begin to gather information from the city and talk to officials to inform the legal strategy. The law firm expects to file the lawsuit in the fall.
“Boston, like so many cities across the country, has invested significant time, money and resources to aggressively attack the opioid crisis from every angle,” Walsh said in a statement. “Now is the time to finally hold the pharmaceutical industry responsible. Through this effort, my priority continues to be the financial and social damages to cities caused by the reckless dissemination of opioids and ensuring that Boston, a city on the front lines of this fight every day, is best positioned to recover and meet these ongoing costs.”
In 2017, there were 1,510 confirmed opioid-related deaths across Massachusetts, according to the state health department, with the largest concentration, 266 deaths, having occurred in Boston.
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey recently announced a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma and its executives for their role in fueling opioid-related deaths. While this was the first such lawsuit to name executives, municipalities across the country have been filing similar litigation.
Motley Rice currently represents the city of Chicago and Santa Clara County in their complaints against pharmaceutical companies, as well as seven states in investigations and litigation against opioid manufacturers and distributors.