Brick to Join Lawsuit Against Opioid Manufacturers

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    Pill bottles. (File Photo)
    Pill bottles. (File Photo)

    Brick officials announced Thursday that the township would join a class action lawsuit against opioid manufacturers, making Brick the second local community to file suit against the pharmaceutical industry.

    The lawsuit seeks damages related to the cost of managing and fighting the opioid and heroin epidemic, claiming that the manufacturers of opioid medications misrepresented the drugs’ risk to medical providers and patients. Toms River announced last month that they would join the lawsuit.

    Mayor John Ducey said the township will retain the national law firm of Motley Rice, LLC to represent the township in the lawsuit. The same firm is representing Toms River. Under the terms of the agreement, the law firm will not receive any payment from the township but will instead take a percentage of any recovery from the drug manufacturers. The township council is expected to approve the agreement at its meeting on Tuesday.

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    “While we will continue our efforts to attack the heroin problem through treatment and aggressive law enforcement,” said Ducey, “We also will hold the manufacturers accountable for telling doctors and patients that opioids are not addictive. They know that’s not true.”

    Drug overdoses in Brick have steadily increased, from 69 in 2014 to 212 in 2016. The number of overdoses so far this year is 92 – significantly down from the same time last year. Township officials credit education programs led by the police department, as well as the Blue HARP program, wherein drug users can turn themselves in without fear of criminal charges and receive immediate treatment. The Brick police department also has an active Drug Enforcement Unit.

    “We need to use every option at our disposal to fight this horrific battle,” said Ducey. “I am pleased that Motley Rice will bring its national legal expertise to our town, at no cost to our residents.”


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    • Let’s Roll

      Interesting how towns and governments are immune from most lawsuits but they are ready, willing and able to file any frivolous lawsuit against anyone they want.
      I would like to file suit against politicians that lie about taking health benefits and politicians that get convicted of crimes.

      • east coast resident

        Two wrongs don’t make a right. And, this is not a “frivolous lawsuit” as you’re saying. Lives have been messed up. These drug lords should be held personally accountable and thrown in prison. They belong in the same cell as a corner drug dealer.

        • Mac

          So do the politicians you elect and reelect time after time after time. Yet, you will reelect them all again in about a month, and then wonder why nothing gets better.

        • 205167117

          You have no idea what that person’s voting practices are. Someone with real concern takes action. Someone looking for attention confronts and replies in regards to things that have nothing to do with what the original person is saying.

          It’s like stating 3+2=5 and you replying Pluto. They weren’t asking a question and even if they were your answer makes no sense.

        • Mac

          Wow! Vicari has a dingleberry.

        • 205167117

          How does that apply to this article?

          You’re trying to have a state level political conversation with someone concerned with the local level.

          You’ve turned a conspiracy theory about law firm percentages collected into six different topics up to this point.

          Are you okay with the political banner being blasted over the homepage of this site or the Republicans placing someone as their candidate instead of the person that lost in the primary?

          Pick your battles better because you clearly have a horse in the race and I’m clearly just here observing.

        • Mac

          Brick has been smart enough to cut Gilmore out of the picture as much as they have. At the moment, Gilmore is basically restricted to the MUA sewers. Some combinations just seem to be helplessly natural. If the Brick voters elect any Gilmore Republicans again, then they deserve to pay through the nose for it. I couldn’t care less what closet they came out of.

          Toms River started this current campaign scam. Lawyers don’t do anything for free, and their integrity isn’t known to be a high point either. While it’s an impressive thought to go after the drug powers, this action is nothing more than the equivalent of a dozen politicians holding shovels and wearing hard hats while having their picture taken for a highly touted ‘maybe project in the future that’s being billed as ongoing today.’ Campaign BS.

          Personally, I believe the current Brick mayor is doing a fairly respectable job. The Brick citizens are certainly getting more bang for their bucks than any Ocean County republican has to offer. However, I would have rather seen him commit to a little more evaluation of this ‘campaign scam’ (in my opinion) than being the first one to jump abroad another Gilmore runaway railroad baggage car of deceit.

          As for picking my battles, there is no difference in NJ as to whether it is a local, county or state government position anymore. They all operate exactly the same, excuses and dysfunctions. They have even spent years changing and weakening the laws that allow for more and more political corruption to become standard operating procedures, or reduce the penalties for violations so they are no more harmful than a fly or mosquito bite, and are often paid for with public campaign funds.

          Yes, I do have a horse in the race. He’s a very old horse, a relic of the Roman Empire, you might say. And he’s just as frustrated as I am that he can’t get the American public to understand the reasons why, and how quickly, the great and mighty Roman Empire fell.

          I’m not trying to say I have the answers, but I do recognize the problems no one seems to be responsibly addressing, and I do have ideas on some of these subjects. While they are often viewed as independent problems or such, it’s rare that these problems aren’t associated with, or masked by, others. I’m just saying America isn’t bulletproof, and that 99% of American society no longer has any reason to put their faith in the 1% anymore (and those that believe they are associated with them.) Votes can overcome money anytime the public takes the time to stand up and use their rights. Too bad that doesn’t happen much anymore.

          Ding. Is that a dozen yet?

        • 205167117

          I appreciate your thought out response. I think you’d be surprised about what beliefs we have in common.

          All I’m saying is this would have been tied to whatever party was in office at the time. It’s presented as free money and they claim it comes at no risk of cost outside of a win.

          I understand you’re saying nothing is free. I appreciate you asking what the percentage is. You lose me when you speculate that money will change hands aside from the percentage regardless.

          Could it happen? Of course. Am I going to hold them guilty before it happens based on similar examples? No, I don’t think that’s fair.

          Hopefully those benefiting on reporting these stories have the journalistic integrity to follow up on them so that in the case that your speculation is true that those responsible are held accountable.

        • Mac

          Fair enough, and thank you. I’ve read some of your posts in the past, probably even addressed some of them, so I felt a bit blindsided from your first couple on this page.

          Myself, I’m not as generous in giving most lifetime politicians the benefit of the doubt. And, unfortunately to date, I’ve yet to meet or observe one in the past 30 years that has had anything to offer to change this position of mine after so many of my original attempts that forced me to eat my words.

          All misunderstandings on my part cleared. 🙂

        • Chief Wahoo

          All politicians are total parasites. Stop believing there is any difference of red vs blue. Now you two go get a hotel room.

        • Mac

          So your saying ‘Go purple?’ Ah, the memories. Purple and white sheets. My old high school colors.

        • Nan

          There is no question about lives being lost. The point is how will this lawsuit stop that? If the Township was capable of doing anything about it it should have been several years ago when a gentleman named Jim who lived in Maple Tree Condo and his son complained again and again. Eventually, action was taken by the Brick PD in concert with Ocean County and many arrests have been made. Problem now in other areas but possibly less harmful.
          Politics at this time all talk and eventually no results.

      • Nan

        Especially when Mayor and Council majority are up for re-election. Were they proactive regarding the GSP Interchange 91were being complained of loudly and often. Did you watch the last Council meeting where the little old man stated that there were only three people complaining? Did you know he is a Brick Democratic Club operative who has been an alternate on the Planning Board and now a regular and his ‘little’ protege is the Alternate? Council members think he is so cute. He is a vicious man.

    • Mac

      “Under the terms of the agreement, the law firm will not receive any payment from the township but will instead take a percentage of any recovery from the drug manufacturers.”

      And the percentage amount is? Will that include all expenses involved, or will these expenses be deducted before the percentage split?

      When ‘hard facts’ are presented as percentages without the percentages being revealed, it’s generally not a great deal for the taxpayers, but a windfall for all the connected lawyers and generals of the operation.

      • 205167117

        It’s a shot in the dark for nothing. The money the drug companies have leave the opposition of the case in a bad place. The only way anyone is getting involved is by the firm taking on risk in terms of loss of billable hours.

        In this case I have to side with giving them a solid percentage. Anything they get us is more than we had before they took on the case.

        • Mac

          And the beat goes on. Just more of the same. Smoke and mirrors. In politics, there is no such thing as a free ride. If there was such a thing as a free ride, then you wouldn’t see a ‘political lawyer’ within a thousand miles of it. Big promises with Christie Exxon results. That’s why ITISSOEASYINNJ. NJ voters are the certified chumps of America.

        • 205167117

          What in the world does any of that have to do with the topic at hand?

          This is a simple article. It’s the equivalent of joining a class action suit because you can a d not because you care. It’s free and found money in the event we win.

          Good luck with all that above in the last reply. I couldn’t make any sense of the rambling.

        • Mac

          Whatever. If you think this isn’t going to cost you any money, or in the unlikely event any FREE money is received (again, no such thing,) it will just go to a political contractor, real or imagined. When has a lawsuit ever benefited the citizens of NJ before satisfying the politically-connected first, and usually, solely?

    • east coast resident

      I think this is appropriate. Thanks mayor Ducey for taking this action. The drug manufacturers should be held accountable for the mess they have created. What I would like to see though, is that they won’t be able to increase drug prices of other product, to pay the fines. Company heads should be held personally responsible and face jail time and fines taken out of their own bank accounts. Why is it that a street corner drug dealer is thrown in prison, while these big time drug lords are not punished, but rewarded with millions in bonuses, for increased sales? Yes, sue them, but also prosecute them personally. Otherwise, the fines will not be any punishment for them personally. They still have their contracts and even if they lose their jobs, they will be compensated. We saw this happen with Wells Fargo.

      • Coopersale

        No one cares what you think, you bigot.

    • craigoftruth

      300,000 Americans die each year from obesity and only 50,000 Americans die annually from Opioids. Why not sue the candy, soda, snack food, bakeries, Girl Scouts, and fast food restaurants too?

    • Goodgrief

      It is wrong for those legitimately sick and needing pain help to be considered after drug abusers. Keep things in the right perspective.

    • Chief Wahoo

      Oh no the death count is dropping , that can’t be good for the lawsuit. Be careful out there opioid users, don’t become a statistic that Duceys lawyer buddies can use.
      Also, I thought progressive liberals were for legalizing all drugs. I guess unless it’s a corporation with very big pockets. Always follow the $$$$$ ….