By COURNEY HESSLER
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — A local attorney has been selected as one of three attorneys named as heads of a newly formed organizational structure created to handle hundreds of lawsuits blaming several drug companies of fueling the opioid epidemic nationwide.
Huntington attorney Paul T. Farrell Jr., of the law firm of Greene, Ketchum, Farrell, Bailey & Tweel, Paul J. Hanly Jr., of Illinois, and Joseph F. Rice, of South Carolina, were each selected to act as the cases’ co-lead attorneys at a December meeting to create the structure, which was attended by 150 lawyers representing 191 of the cases.
An MDL is a federal legal procedure designed to speed the process of handling complex cases. The grouping allows one judge – in this case, U.S. District Judge Dan A. Polster in the Northern District of Ohio – to rule on common issues on law and facts before they are sent back to their original jurisdiction for jury trials.
The grouped lawsuits allege drug firms, manufacturers and distributors breached their duty to monitor, detect, investigate, refuse and report suspicious orders of prescription opiates coming into West Virginia over the past several years – a duty the lawsuit claims companies had under the Controlled Substance Act of 1970.
Follow reporter Courtney Hessler at Facebook.com/CHesslerHD and via Twitter @HesslerHD.
See more from The Herald-Dispatch