This story, originally published by Newport Plain Talk, appeared Jan. 12, 2018. Copyright 2018 Newport Plain Talk.
JACKSBORO, Tenn.—District Attorney General Jimmy Dunn, who represents the Fourth Judicial District, has joined with a coalition of East Tennessee district attorneys to file suit against several prescription opioid manufacturers and distributors.
Dunn, who represents Cocke, Grainger, Jefferson and Sevier Counties, is the sixth district attorney general to join the suit, which brings the total number of counties represented to 19.
The initial lawsuit against Purdue Pharma L.P. and its related companies, along with Mallinckrodt LLC, Endo Health Solutions Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiary, Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. was originally filed by the district attorneys general of Tennessee’s Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Judicial Districts. The lawsuit named two plaintiffs, known collectively as Baby Doe, by and through their Guardians Ad Litem. Additional defendants named in the filing include the (now-dissolved) Tennessee Pain Institute (TPI), two former TPI employees and a convicted drug dealer.
Dunn told the Plain Talk on Wednesday evening that it is time to join in the fight against those producing the opioids.
“It’s time to join in,” said Dunn, via telephone. “I’ve studied this issue for awhile.”
The District Attorney said that the suit would help East Tennessee counties recover some of the damages, including funding additional law enforcement and an increase in jail populations across the area. Dunn also noted that the problems with babies born with addictions to opioids was also higher than normal in East Tennessee.
“This will benefit all four counties in the Fourth Judicial District,” Dunn said. “We’re looking for the abatement of the nuisances forced upon us by the manufacturers and distributors of opioids.”
According to a press release issued by the coalition of the district attorneys filing suit, the amended lawsuit alleges that:
• The producer defendants directed their opioids to the 19 East Tennessee counties of the state’s Fourth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Judicial Districts, while the criminal defendants participated in the illegal opioid drug market throughout the same judicial districts along the Interstate 75 corridor;
• Purdue Pharma embarked on a fraudulent campaign to convince physicians that OxyContin® created minimal risk of addiction;