SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – The City of San Antonio is joining national litigation against opioid manufacturers and distributors.
City Council last month signed a resolution to participate in multi-district litigation, and the Herrera Law Firm will help San Antonio join hundreds of other cities, counties and states who are suing drug companies that manufacture and distribute opioids. Attorney Jorge Herrera says the lawsuit will argue that “opioids have had a devastating impact at the local level, costing taxpayers money, wasting resources and destroying families.”
He’s confident they can win the case, especially on the heels of a decision by an Oklahoma district court judge who ruled against Johnson and Johnson and ordered the company to pay $572 million in damages to the state.
“Manufacturers and distributors of opioids need to be held accountable for the devastation they’ve caused on a national and local level,” Herrera said. “The Oklahoma verdict does just that, and we’re confident we can help the City of San Antonio recover the tax dollars and resources it has spent trying to combat the opioid epidemic caused by these irresponsible drug companies.”
He told KTSA News that the eventual goal is to recover financial losses that the city has sustained through the social services it provides, but as of Wednesday afternoon, no monetary damage had been set.
Meanwhile, a separate $1 billion lawsuit filed by Bexar County filed in state court against pharmaceutical companies is expected to go to trial in October of 2020. Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff says from 2011 to 21016, there were 1,369 deaths caused by opioids in Bexar County, and more than 3,000 babies were born addicted to opioids because of their mother’s opioid use during pregnancy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that from 1999-2017, nearly 400,000 people died from an overdose involving an opioid, including prescription and illicit opioids.
Because San Antonio is joining national litigation, the multi-district lawsuit is being filed in federal court.
“Too many communities have been negatively affected by the opioid epidemic that’s sweeping our nation,” Herrera said. “Making opioid manufacturers and distributors answer for their wrongdoings through litigation will be a positive step toward providing relief to the people who have been directly impacted by the opioid crisis.”
The resolution approved by San Antonio City Council last month states that the city is entering a contingent fee contract for professional legal services. It further states that “the City does not have appropriated funds available to pay the estimated amounts required under a contract for the payment of hourly fees because the undertaking of mass-tort litigation on an hourly basis would be cost prohibitive thus not allowing the City the opportunity to recover damages.”
Herrera told KTSA News, “If successful, we will be compensated and if not, we won’t.”