Bedford lawsuit moved to Calif. | News, Sports, Jobs

A Bedford County damages lawsuit from a consultancy that helped develop a plan to commercialize OxyContin was moved to California to be linked to at least 39 similar lawsuits.

Class action documents on behalf of the 67 counties and 2,561 parishes of Pennsylvania were transferred from the US District Court in Johnstown to the Northern California Court in San Francisco last Monday.

The case is assigned to US District Judge Charles R. Breyer.

The US Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation decided on June 7th to appeal against the New York consulting firm McKinsey & Company Inc.

Since then, another 22 lawsuits have been transferred.

The lawsuits come from several states, counties, and cities, as well as several Indian tribes.

One of the leading attorneys in the Bedford County’s lawsuit, Barry Scatton, a Bedford County native and a member of the Philadelphia-based Morgan and Morgan Complex Litigation Group, said that referring similar claims to a court was one way to resolve the litigation in an organized way.

The Bedford County lawsuit was filed in the Bedford County Courthouse on June 10, but was then referred to the Johnstown Federal Court.

The lawsuit covers a period after 2007 when The Purdue Frederick Co., the parent company of Purdue Pharma LP, pleaded guilty to the use of a fraudulent marketing campaign which the lawsuit said OxyContin as “Less addictive, less prone to abuse and less likely to cause withdrawal” than other opioids. “

The company agreed to obtain independent oversight of its marketing strategy and submit an annual compliance report to the US Department of Health’s inspector general. While OxyContin abuse cases initially declined, the company has allegedly partnered with McKinsey, described as a global management consulting firm, to grow OxyContin’s sales.

The Bedford County lawsuit alleges Purdue, who worked with McKinsey “Hundreds of Millions of Dollars” in a sales promotion campaign.

Within five years of signing the agreement, OxyContin’s sales tripled, and the lawsuit stated: “McKinsey is responsible for the strategy that achieved this.”

The result of McKinsey’s strategy is alleged to have worked “One final spasm in OxyContin sales before the inevitable decline in the drug.”

Purdue stopped marketing OxyContin until 2018, and in 2019 McKinsey stated it no longer worked for an opioid company. “Opioid abuse and addiction have tragic and devastating effects on our communities.”

The civil lawsuit lists several charges against McKinsey, including: negligence for promoting OxyContin overdose; gross negligence for pushing for an oversupply of pain relievers; negligent misrepresentation and fraud, for providing false information to health care providers, and causing public nuisance that caused thousands of deaths and devastation in the Pennsylvania communities from opioid abuse.

Scatton said he couldn’t predict how long it will take to settle the McKinsey lawsuits, but noted that the California judge overseeing the cases has experience in opioid trials.

The lawsuit does not seek a specific amount of damages, but requires that medical care for addicts, care for children whose parents suffer from opioid disability and incapacity, cover the cost of the law-related drug epidemic, and in conjunction with drug courts and other resources within the justice system.

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