Attorney in opioid trial believes plaintiffs ‘put on a very strong case’

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — With closing arguments in the lawsuit against opioid distributors taking place later this month, an attorney representing Cabell County believes lawyers showed there is enough evidence to prove drug distributors fueled the opioid crisis.

The city of Huntington and Cabell County Commission are suing AmerisourceBergen Drug Co., Cardinal Health Inc. and McKesson Corp. for allegedly intensifying the opioid crisis by shipping millions of pain pills to the area from 2008 to 2014. The defendants rested their case last Monday.

Anthony Majestro (File)

“I believe we put on a very strong case that these defendants who are distributors of opioids … violated their duties under the Controlled Substances Act,” plaintiff attorney Anthony Majestro said.

Majestro said the legal team met all the elements of their claims by addressing the volume of pills and the companies’ inability to investigate the shipments.

“We acknowledged that there were other players who could have done things differently, too, but certainly, these defendants that we tried the case against are a substantial factor in bringing about the awful opioid epidemic that is still ongoing in Cabell County and Huntington,” he said.

Majestro said the distributors failed to meet their duties to stop the shipment of pills and investigate if people were acquiring medication for non-medical purposes. He added the case is too complex to address doctors and manufacturers in the same trial, although claims do exist against other parties.

“There are so-called bellwether trials against those other groups going on,” Majestro said.

Judge David Faber will hear closing arguments beginning July 27.

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