“The freedom of the press is not at stake; the press itself is at stake,” lawyers Paul T. Farrell Jr., Paul J. Geller and Clayton J. Fitzsimmons wrote for HD Media.
Courts have hesitated to move to virtual settings, in large part because the scale of the opioid litigation — thought to be the most complex in U.S. history — makes it difficult to hold a trial by video conference. The city of Huntington and Cabell County in West Virginia, concerned that delays would continue as long as the virus was rampant, pushed to move the trial to a video option but didn’t succeed.
A federal judge in West Virginia has indefinitely postponed a trial date in a lawsuit filed by the city of Huntington and Cabell County over the opioid crisis.
“There is no vaccine to a lifetime of opioid addiction,” said Farrell, who helped initiate the litigation from his home base in Huntington, W.Va., one of the epicenters of the crisis. “We still have an underlying opioid epidemic that has been exacerbated by the covid outbreak.”
The lead lawyer, Paul T. Farrell, Jr. has not agreed to the offer. “West Virginia fully supports the national settlement on behalf of every other state,” said Mr. Farrell, who represents numerous West Virginia small governments. “It’s just not good enough for us.”
Paul Farrell Jr. is one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs. He says he feels like they could have held the trial this month safely.
“We feel like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football,” Farrell said. “Obviously we respect the COVID epidemic, but we should fear the opioid epidemic. There are still people suffering and dying every day in West Virginia.”
This article was originally published in The Wall Street Journal. Higher settlement demand comes as trial dates in Ohio and West Virginia add urgency to talks
The purpose of this phase of discovery is to allow the defendants to hear first-hand the impact on public health and the safety of our community.
Paul Farrell, Jr. is widely recognized by his peers as a pioneer and authority on the diversion claims directed against the opiate prescription drug manufacturers, distributors and dispensers.
Supply side economics is premised on the idea that “supply creates it own demand.” This certainly holds true for prescription opioids.