CLEVELAND, April 9, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- In a ruling announced late Friday, April 3, U.S. District Judge Dan Polster clears the way for the nation's hospitals to pursue claims against marketers, distributors and pharmacies at the heart of the opioid crisis by denying in large part the defendants' motion to dismiss the case. The court ruled that the hospital's claims made under the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO") can proceed as well as claims for nuisance, negligence and wanton negligence. The court also allowed claims for unjust enrichment and violations of the Florida Deceptive Unfair Trade Practices Act ("FDUTPA").
"The ruling puts the hospitals' claims on the same footing as claims made by states, counties and municipalities," said Don Barrett, of Barrett Law Group, who leads a team of nationally prominent lawyers representing hospitals across the country in the hospital bellwether case pending in multi-district litigation in Cleveland.
Shannon F. Jerse, General Counsel of Cleveland-based St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, which has filed a parallel case, stated, "We are extremely gratified that Judge Polster so forcefully recognized the importance of hospitals' position in this crisis. It's hard to explain the daily challenges we deal with to provide this care, much of which is unreimbursed or uncompensated."
Former Ohio Governor John Kasich and West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee, who created a nonprofit group called Citizens for Effective Opioid Treatment focusing on strategies for treating people with opioid illness, issued a joint statement. "It is impossible to fix this problem without saving and supporting our healthcare providers. This is not a political problem. It is a healthcare problem. While government has no doubt been harmed, and should be fairly compensated, the heroes are our hospitals. They will be the solution to this crisis going forward."
Hospitals across the country have been at the front of this crisis treating patients and continue to provide billions of dollars in uncompensated care to those afflicted with opioid related illnesses.
The case is West Boca Medical Center, et al. v. Amerisource Bergen, et al., case #1:17-md-2804.
Learn more about the devastating effects of the opioid epidemic on America's hospitals at https://hospitalopioidcrisis.com/.
Contact: Don Barrett, 662.834.9168, [email protected]
SOURCE Barrett Law Group, P.A.