Month: July 2019

Preventing the Next Crisis: Six Critical Questions About the Opioid Epidemic

The opioid epidemic is one of those circumstances in which the crisis has required an immediate response by state and local governments to “pick up the pieces” through the provision of social services at a magnitude and cost that were unthinkable prior to 1995. The amount of money spent on first responders and medical treatments and the number of children left parentless because of the epidemic is enormous. 

Few individuals question whether state governments should be responding to the social needs of their constituents; however, less has been written about what has been relinquished—that is, the true opportunity costs—because of this response, along with the broader impact that this has on states and their citizenry. This is an important omission and one that needs to be discussed, not only to compensate states, but also to engage more constituents in understanding how those who are not directly affected by the epidemic lose out as a result.

The Opioid Litigation: Settlements, Winners, and Losers

As the fall approaches, anticipation is growing for a breakthrough in the National Prescription Opiate Litigation, the 1,800 combined cases before Judge Dan Polster. The cases accuse Purdue Pharma and other drug manufacturers, along with drug distributors like McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, and Cardinal Health and national pharmacies of responsibility for opioid-related harm.

With the first trial in this behemoth case just months away (October 2019), the expectation has been that the opioid litigation will follow the patterns of previous high-profile cases like Big Tobacco or the NFL Concussion cases, reaching a comprehensive settlement before trial. Though Judge Polster has kept the underlying facts out of public view by allowing the defendants to file materials under seal, the parties have made noteworthy efforts to publicize an anticipated settlement framework.

The proposal would pull nearly 25,000 cities and counties nationwide (of whom roughly fewer than 7% are currently parties to the litigation) into a negotiation class, betting that few would opt out based on litigation costs. The theory is that this would give the defendants some security by foreclosing the possibility of future suits by municipalities not yet participating in the proceedings. The differential share of opioid harms at different times and places around the country could be allocated with an interactive map establishing each local government’s expected share of any proposed settlement.

Parker Waichman initiates over 500 3M earplug lawsuits

Parker Waichman LLP, a national law firm, announced that they have served the defendants with lawsuits on behalf of more than 500 combat veterans who utilized the standard issue 3M Dual-Ended Combat Arms™ earplugs during deployment and/or while stationed state-side venued in Minnesota District Court for the Second Judicial District, County of Ramsey, against 3M Company and Aearo Technologies LLC.

According to the complaints, former and current service members have been diagnosed with tinnitus and/or permanent hearing loss as a result of the earplugs’ failure to protect their hearing from noise exposure during training and combat.  The suits seek damages for pain and suffering, medical expenses, mental anguish, loss of wages and earning capacity and more.

The lawsuits contend, among other allegations, that 3M Company and Aearo Technologies failed to properly and/or adequately test the Dual-Ended Combat Arms™ earplugs, concealed their knowledge that the earplugs were defectively designed and did not meet the requirements set forth by the United States government, had inadequate instructions and warnings and failed to warn members of the U.S. Military in particular, of the health and safety risks associated with the use of Defendants’ Dual-Ended Combat Arms™ earplugs. 

Bayer Catches A Break On $2 Billion Roundup Verdict

Bayer AG caught a huge break from a California judge on Thursday. The judge reduced a previous $2 billion jury verdict and slashed the award for a couple who blamed Roundup for their cancer to $86.7 million. The move saved Bayer AG $1.9 billion

Colorado Releases Guidance on Equal Pay Transparency Rules

Along with a host of other laws across the country, [1] Colorado’s Equal Pay for Equal Work Act (“Act”) went into effect on January 1, 2021. Among other measures, the Act requires all employers—located anywhere in the United States—with at least one employee in Colorado to (i) provide Colorado-based employees with formal notice of internal opportunities for promotion [2] on the same calendar day the opening occurs, and (ii) disclose salary compensation and employee benefits in job postings for positions that are expected to be, or can be (e.g., remote positions), performed in Colorado.

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