The City of Danbury has selected Ventura Law to investigate and pursue claims on its behalf relating to the national opioid epidemic. The Danbury Common Council agreed to hire Ventura Law on March 6, 2018. Across the country, more than 200 local governments have joined the opioid litigation, and that number continues to climb nearly every day.
Ventura Law has partnered with Branstetter, Stranch & Jennings, a law firm based in Nashville, Tennessee. Branstetter, Stranch & Jennings is leading the charge against opioid manufacturers and its related companies and has already filed suit on behalf of 14 district attorneys, covering 47 counties.
“In selecting a local firm to represent the unique interests of the city, Danbury has shown great leadership in proactively protecting its citizens,” said Chief Executive Officer at Ventura Law, Attorney Augie J. Ribeiro.
The potential claims that the City of Danbury anticipates on raising in its lawsuit are that the drug companies engaged in fraudulent and deceptive marketing regarding the risks and benefits of prescription opioids, which contributed to and fueled Connecticut’s opioid epidemic. For decades, pharmaceutical companies aggressively marketed to health care providers and reassured the medical community that patients would not become addicted to prescription opioids like oxycodone, despite knowing the drugs were not safe or effective for long-term use and chronic pain.
“The city of Danbury, like many cities throughout the country, has faced and will continue to face increased costs because of this drug epidemic. We are proud to help the city bring a claim against these powerful companies,” commented Atty. Ribeiro, adding, “Should we win, the hope is that education and treatment programs will be available in the future to protect those who are most likely to suffer.”
Danbury anticipates alleging that the drug companies violated Connecticut’s consumer protection statutes and created a public nuisance by disseminating false and misleading statements about the risks and benefits of opioids. This false marketing included medical journal advertising, sales representative statements and the use of medical front groups to deliver information that downplayed the risks and inflated the benefits of opioids. This conduct proliferated the prescription of opioids and drove the opioid epidemic that the City of Danbury and the State of Connecticut are currently facing.
Working on researching opioid effects for over a year, Atty. Ribeiro shares that he has visited many communities that have been devasted by the epidemic. “Many families, and hard-working men and women, have fallen ill and have suffered because of the misrepresentations of the safety and use of opioids by the drug companies. We hope to change this and make people aware of the addictive nature of these medications so that others in the future do not suffer.”
“As we continue to see a rise in opioid abuse across the country and in our city, it is becoming more difficult to find the necessary funds for addiction treatment, and increased police and public health costs. We want to find a way to get ahead of this, and to do that, we will need funding for some of the programs that we just can’t afford to offer right now,” explained Mayor Mark Boughton.
About Ventura Law – Since 1957, Ventura Law has been advocating on behalf of consumers. The firm is currently involved in numerous mass tort and complex litigation legal proceedings: against British Petroleum, perpetrator of the world’s worst environmental oil disaster; against General Motors, the automaker that manufactured — then covered up — a defective ignition switch that caused the death of drivers and injured many more; and against pharmaceutical companies in various product liability actions, including Bayer, Johnson & Johnson, Boehringer Ingelheim, Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline.