West Virginia negotiates more than $260 million in preliminary settlements with opioid manufacturers Allergan, J&J, Teva, ending trial

With the support of Motley Rice as outside counsel, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced on May 25, 2022 that the State has reached a $161.5 million preliminary settlement with opioid manufacturers Allergan and Teva. The State previously reached a $99 million settlement in April with additional defendant Johnson & Johnson, bringing the total expected recovery from the statewide trial against opioid manufacturers to just over $260 million.   

Attorney General Morrisey reached the settlement ahead of closing arguments in a nearly two-month trial that began April 4 in Kanawha County Circuit Court. The State had alleged the defendant companies engaged in deceptive marketing and distribution practices that contributed to West Virginia’s oft-cited position as the epicenter of the opioid epidemic. 

“Attorney General Morrisey has shown great leadership here in West Virginia and he has set an example for communities nationwide that are similarly fighting their way back from the brink,” said Motley Rice attorney, Linda Singer

“The funds secured by these settlements will directly translate to addiction services and other critical resources that are essential in order to overcome this crisis,” said Motley Rice attorney Elizabeth Smith. “We are grateful that we were able to aid Attorney General Morrisey in achieving this result for the people and families of West Virginia who greatly need the support.” 

Fatal overdose rates tripled in the State over the past decade, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and spiked to a record high in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Motley Rice lawyers David Ackerman, Sarah Aguiñiga, Fred Baker,  Moniqúe Alycia ChristensonEthan DuBois, Anne McGinness Kearse, Alexis Lilly, Mimi Liu, Temitope Leyimu, Linda Singer, Elizabeth Smith, and Cindi Solomon, served as trial counsel for the State and led negotiations for the preliminary settlements. 

“The loss of life associated with addiction in West Virginia sadly outpaces much of the country and the people here have been pressed to a breaking point,” said Motley Rice attorney for the State, Anne McGinness Kearse. “By reaching agreements with Allergan, Teva and J&J, the State is now in a better position to push forward for the people of West Virginia in order to bring about an end to this crisis.” 

Motley Rice has two offices in Morgantown and Charleston, W.Va., and has litigated for years for suffering West Virginian workers and families injured or killed due to asbestos exposure. The firm also represents West Virginia in several state-filed cases against opioid manufacturers Mallinckrodt and Purdue Pharma, distributors and pharmacies. In addition, the firm also represents the City of Huntington, W.Va., as outside trial counsel in its suit against the Big Three opioid distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson, which is a bellwether case in the National Prescription Opiate Multidistrict Litigation. Closing arguments concluded in July and a verdict is pending. 

Motley Rice’s Opioid Litigation Leadership

Motley Rice represents dozens of governmental entities, including states, cities, towns, counties and townships in ongoing investigations and litigation filed in state courts and in the National Prescription Opiate Multidistrict Litigation. The entities allege deceptive marketing and/or the overdistribution of opioids. Motley Rice’s co-founding member Joe Rice is co-lead counsel for the federal MDL. Attorney Linda Singer also serves as co-chair of the MDL’s Manufacturer/Marketing Committee and Lou Bograd is co-chair of the Law & Briefing Committee.

As co-lead counsel for the MDL, Joe Rice co-led negotiations for a $26 billion settlement that was announced in July with Johnson & Johnson and the nation’s Big Three opioid distributors. 

Learn more about the National Prescription Opiate MDL

Read the full complaints filed by the State of West Virginia against Allergan and Teva, and Johnson & Johnson

About Motley Rice

Motley Rice LLC is one of the nation’s largest plaintiffs’ litigation firms. With a tradition of representing those whose rights have been violated, Motley Rice attorneys gained recognition for their pioneering asbestos lawsuits, their work with the State Attorneys General in the landmark litigation against Big Tobacco, and their representation of 9/11 families in the ongoing lawsuit against terrorist financiers. 

The firm continues to handle complex litigation in numerous areas, including securities fraud; antitrust; consumer protection; mesothelioma; environmental contamination; prescription and over-the-counter drugs; medical devices; human rights; aviation disasters; and wrongful death. Motley Rice is headquartered in Mt. Pleasant, S.C., and has additional offices in Connecticut; Washington, D.C.; New Jersey; New York; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; and West Virginia. For more information, contact Motley Rice attorney Anne McGinness Kearse (DC, SC, WV) at 1.800.768.4026 or visit www.motleyrice.com. Motley Rice LLC, a South Carolina Limited Liability Company, is engaged in the New Jersey practice of law through Motley Rice New Jersey LLC. Esther Berezofsky is the attorney responsible for New Jersey practice. 

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