The following is a press release issued by the Mayor’s office. It is published as received.
FRAMINGHAM – Mayor Yvonne M. Spicer announced today that the City of Framingham will file a lawsuit in Massachusetts State Court to hold opioid drug manufacturers and distributors accountable for the damages the City has suffered, and will continue to suffer in dealing with the Opioid epidemic. The Defendants’ conduct has imposed a direct, foreseeable, and substantial financial burden on the City of Framingham.
The City’s agencies, and personnel have devoted an increasingly large segment of its resources on public health, social and human services, law enforcement, police, fire and first responders, and outreach initiatives designed to combat the crisis created by the Defendants’ unlawful conduct.
In 2016 there were 213 opioid overdoses in Framingham, and eighteen Framingham residents died, tripling the number from 2012.
Abating the public nuisance will require continued outlay of City resources for the foreseeable future. The City of Framingham will therefore seek an order requiring the Defendants to fund the abatement effort, rather than having the taxpayers continue to bear these costs.
The pharmaceutical manufacturers misrepresented that opioid prescription drugs were a safe treatment for chronic pain, and grossly discounted the real and known threat of addiction resulting from long-term use. And the distributors knew they were pumping opioids into the City far in excess of any legitimate medical need. It is important to demand accountability from the companies who are responsible for creating this man-made crisis. The defendants who recklessly promoted their drugs for long-term use were enriched by a greatly expanded market for their drugs and enjoyed huge profits. Meanwhile the cities and towns were left with the burden of having to allocate ever-increasing costs and resources to respond to the opioid epidemic left in the wake of the defendants’ misdeeds. Officials throughout the City of Framingham are working tirelessly with many dedicated partners to prevent, support and lessen the devastating impact of addiction experienced by many individuals, their families, co-workers, and friends within our community.
“This is a personal issue for me, as it is for many of our residents. Many of us know friends or family members who have struggled with this horrible disease that is opioid addiction” said Mayor Yvonne Spicer. “The City of Framingham, like other communities, bears a significant cost in the public resources devoted to combating this disease, as we discussed in April at a community conversation on this issue that we hosted at the MetroWest Medical Center. In addition to the various programs we discussed in that conversation, this lawsuit, and its promising potential to offset the financial burden this disease imposes our municipal budget, is yet another part of our strategic approach to ending this crisis in our City.”
The City of Framingham has retained the law firm of Scott+Scott Attorneys at Law LLP to represent it as special counsel in this litigation.
Scott+Scott is an international law firm headquartered in Connecticut with additional offices in New York, Ohio, California, and London, England, with experience representing public entities, institutional investors, pension funds, multinational corporations, and hedge funds in a variety of complex litigation matters.
Scott+Scott’s fees and expenses will only be paid if there is a successful recovery for the City, and the fees and expenses are limited to a percentage of the recovery, thus minimizing any direct financial cost to the City’s taxpayers for this lawsui