HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) — A decision in a major opioid lawsuit involving the City of Huntington has been reached.
The City of Huntington and Cabell County will not receive the billions of dollars they sought from three major drug distributors.
Both the city and county have sued Cardinal Health, Amerisource Berge and McKesson — alleging they dumped millions of opioid pills in West Virginia.
“Well, I haven’t had the chance to go over the entire document. But we are extremely disappointed for the City of Huntington who has undergone so much devastation because of these opioids,” said Rusty Webb, attorney for Huntington, Cabell County.
“We respect the Court and the judicial system through which we have sought remedy, but my disappointment cannot be measured. The decision today is a blow to our city and community, but we remain resilient even in the face of adversity. This case was always about holding these distributors accountable and providing our doctors, nurses, counselors, first responders and social workers with some of the resources needed to combat the opioid crisis. These companies were part of a powerful industry responsible for fueling the epidemic here in Huntington and across the country. We will work alongside our counsel to ensure the fight continues on behalf of so many who lost their lives and livelihoods to the opioid epidemic. The citizens of our city and county should not have to bear the principal responsibility of ensuring that an epidemic of this magnitude never occurs again.”Steve Williams, Huntington Mayor
Some 81 million pain pills were sent to Cabell County from 2006 to 2014. The lawsuit accused the drug distributors of creating a public nuisance with the onslaught and ignoring signs that the area was ravaged by addiction.
The plaintiffs were seeking more than $2.5 billion that would go toward abatement efforts. The goal of the 15-year abatement plan would be to reduce overdoses, overdose deaths and the number of people with opioid use disorder.
The case was tried in Federal Court in Charleston and alleges that the drugmakers flooded West Virginia with millions of pills, leading to the opioid epidemic.
On Mar. 30, 2022, Federal Judge David Faber threw out a motion by the pharmaceutical companies for a “direct verdict” which could essentially dismiss the case in their favor.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.