The City of Martinsville filed a motion to consolidate the opioid lawsuits of 10 other localities, including Pittsylvania County, in the Virginia Supreme Court on Tuesday.
All 11 of the localities retained the legal team of representatives from Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLC; Kaufman & Canoles, P.C.; and the Cicala Law Firm PLLC.
The lawsuits of each locality sue prescription opioid manufacturers, distributors and pharmacy benefit managers, depicting the opioid epidemic as the result of a multi-level conspiracy between profit-driven companies.
The city of Martinsville’s motion requests for the appointment of a panel of circuit court judges. The panel would then hear the city’s request to consolidate the 11 lawsuits under Virginia’s Multiple Claimant Litigation Act.
The Multiple Claimant Litigation Act provides a circuit court with the power to join, consolidate or transfer civil actions if there are at least six separate actions already brought arising from the same occurrence or involving the same questions of law.
The circuit court also must find that the order would promote just ends efficiently, is consistent with each party’s right to due process and doesn’t prejudice each party’s right to a fair and impartial resolution.
In a news release, Kevin H. Sharp of Sanford Heisler Sharp said, “Transfer and consolidation of these cases into one venue is an efficient and practical way to resolve these cases as fairly and as quickly as possible for our clients.”
Each of the lawsuits point to similar regional data to exemplify the effect of the opioid epidemic across Virginia and claim the defendants’ contributed to misrepresenting the drugs’ risks, ignored their responsibilities and increased the flow of prescription opioids into the market.
Pittyslvania County’s $50 million lawsuit listed 11 causes of action against the defendants, including creating a public nuisance, violating the Virginia Consumer Protection Act, fraud, conspiracy and various forms of negligence.