Fighting Back Against Corporate Greed is a Victory for Accountability
Despite what people think about the general state of our public institutions, the civil justice system has displayed remarkable resilience in its ability to help ordinary Americans. Those who courageously exercise their Constitutional right to a day in court hold unscrupulous corporations and incompetent government regulators accountable and demonstrate that our civil justice system can still pack a serious punch.
The civil justice system is designed to hold people and corporations or companies accountable through financial compensation for a victim who was harmed through little or no fault of their own. As a result, hundreds of thousands of lives have been saved and injuries prevented because wrongdoers have been forced into changing their bad behavior.
Justice comes in many forms, but one of the biggest victories for accountability came against the companies that manufacture, market, and distribute deadly opioids.
Major Companies Fueled Sales of Opioids
Beginning in the late 1990s, drug makers led by the now infamous Purdue Pharma lied to millions of Americans about potent opioids like OxyContin – stronger than heroin and just as addictive – as a safe treatment for chronic pain. As sales soared, companies like Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, and Johnson & Johnson jumped on the profit gravy train despite skyrocketing overdose deaths and the untold human suffering that unfolded nationwide. In the process, the death toll topped 500,000.
If the egregious behavior had been left unchecked, the deaths would keep mounting. Thankfully, our civil justice system is based on the idea that no one, not even a corporation worth billions of dollars, is above the law. The average person can – and should – seek accountability because of negligence, incompetence or intentional actions. Even powerful and wealthy corporations have to face the consequences of their actions.
Families Push Government Watchdogs to Take Action
As thousands of moms, dads, sons, daughters, sisters, and brothers died from opioid-related overdoses – estimated at roughly 70,000 people yearly – family members were left to pick up the pieces. Many turned to local, state, and tribal governments for help, which prompted legal action against the drug makers, pharmacies, consultants, and individuals profiting from billions in opioid sales.
A settlement reached with Purdue Pharma dissolved the company and transferred all its assets to a trust organization dedicated to treating opioid addiction. Internal documents uncovered during the trial of Purdue Pharma showed that the company continued to mislead regulators, doctors, and patients about the addictiveness of OxyContin even after several executives pleaded guilty to defrauding the public.
Several companies have also settled major cases that will direct millions to treatment and recovery services, including in Arizona. In August 2021, Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced his office has conditionally signed on to a proposed $26 billion national settlement with Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen – the nation’s three major pharmaceutical distributors – and Johnson & Johnson, which manufactured and marketed opioids. Arizona was among the first states to reach a statewide agreement.
If finalized, Arizona as a whole would receive up to $549 million from the settlement. And the money would be used for opioid treatment, prevention, and education, in compliance with the One Arizona Plan, which provides funding for programs to address and ameliorate opioid abuse, and includes reporting requirements for greater transparency of how money is used.
Standing Strong for Your Constitutional Rights
Civil lawsuits are one of the best tools to fight outrageous conduct, help change the law, and make the world a safer place. Our right to accountability through the Seventh Amendment exists to expose those responsible and help all of us begin our long national journey toward healing and recovery. If you’re ready to take a stand and wish to discuss the specifics of your case in a free consultation with an experienced Tucson personal injury lawyer, please contact us today.