Montgomery County will become the latest jurisdiction to file a lawsuit against manufacturers and distributors of highly addictive painkillers for those companies' roles in the national opioid epidemic.
On Tuesday, County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) announced that Montgomery will go to court in the coming weeks over false marketing and other unlawful sales techniques allegedly used by manufacturers and distributors of opioids. The lawsuit will also seek to recoup taxpayer money the county has spent responding to the opioid crisis.
"Death. Addiction. Broken families. Broken lives. We are living this reality each and every day," Leggett said.
Leggett said one goal of the lawsuit is to challenge opioid manufacturers and distributors who may understate how addicting their drugs can be.
There were 84 opioid-related deaths in the county in 2016, said Raymond Crowel, chief of behavioral health and crisis services for Montgomery's Department of Health and Human Services. Numbers for 2017 are not yet available.
The law firm Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP will represent Montgomery on a contingency fee basis, officials said. The firm has taken on similar cases for jurisdictions in Michigan and Florida. Montgomery's lawsuit could be handled in state or federal court.