Delaware Public Media

New Castle Co. retains counsel, may sue big pharma

Feb 7, 2018

New Castle County is lawyering up to potentially sue the pharmaceutical industry for its role in the opioid crisis.

The county retained the law firm Motley Rice—known for securing a $246 billion tobacco settlement, which still stands as the largest civil settlement in history.  Motley Rice is working on a contingency basis and will only be paid if the county files suit and receives compensation.

New Castle County contends opioids are a prime contributor to crime and have prompted an increased demand for law enforcement and first responders—effectively increasing the cost to taxpayers.

"As 911 calls related to deadly overdoses goes up, so have the costs," said County Executive Matt Meyer in a statement.

Hundreds of counties and municipalities across the country are considering lawsuits against big pharma. The State of Delaware announced last month it would be following most other states with a suit of its own.

New Castle County recently received a federal grant to help fund its Hero Help program, which works to provide access of care to opioid addicts.