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Cops and Courts

North Ridgeville files suit against drug manufacturers


ELYRIA — The city of North Ridgeville has joined other cities and Lorain County in the fight against the opioid crisis by filing a 291-page lawsuit of its own against the manufacturers of the drugs.

The suit was filed on behalf of the city by Plevin and Gallucci Co., a law firm in Cleveland, in Lorain County Common Pleas Court on Monday afternoon.

The suit lists nearly 30 defendants starting with Purdue Pharma, the maker of the painkiller OxyContin, which is viewed as a major factor in the rise of opioid addictions across the country. Other defendants include Cephalon Inc, Johnson & Johnson, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Watson Laboratories Inc., Endo Health Solutions, McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health and Amerisourcebergen Corp.

North Ridgeville joins a growing list of municipalities that want to see drug companies held accountable, even financially responsible, for the ripple effects of their drugs hitting the market, leading to addiction, overdoses and deaths.

“I want to do anything I can to help combat the opioid crisis,” North Ridgeville Mayor David Gillock said. “This seems to be one more tool in the toolbox that will help. Our firemen are facing this on a daily basis, so we thought it was the right thing to do to join in and try to be part of a solution.”

The city joins Lorain, which filed a similar suit in June 2017, Elyria, which filed one in November, and Lorain County, which filed a suit in December.

North Ridgeville Law Director Brian Moriarty said the city wanted to take its time in filing.

“We were approached months ago with this,” Moriarty said. “We wanted to make sure we had a chance to review it and sit down and talk with the attorneys before we signed on with it to make sure it was something we thought was worthy to get involved with. That caused a bit of a delay.”

Moriarty said the suit uses the same template as many of the other similar suits that have been filed, but the city requested some revisions to the complaint prior to it being filed.

“There were just some things that we didn’t want to overstate that we saw in the original complaint we reviewed,” he said. “We thought that might be misconstrued as a little bit misrepresenting.”

An example of one of the revisions Moriarty gave was where the complaint said the city has spent millions of dollars in combating the opioid crisis, when that’s actually not the case, Moriarty said.

The city expects the case to be moved out of Common Pleas Court and sent to federal court, as has happened with all the other cases filed, Moriarty said.

Contact Scott Mahoney at 440-329-7146 or Follow him on Twitter @SMahoneyCT.

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