Maywood Retains Law Firm, Joins Suit Against Opioid Makers, Dealers

Tuesday, June 19, 2018 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

The village of Maywood has joined a growing list of municipalities named as plaintiffs in a lawsuit against “more than 20 pharmaceutical companies and their subsidiaries, drug distribution companies and three doctors who formerly ran an alleged opioid ‘pill mill’ out of a now-shuttered pain clinic in Riverside,” according to previous reporting.

During a Regular June 5 meeting, the Maywood Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve a retention agreement with Edelson PC, a Chicago law firm, which recently filed the class action lawsuit on behalf of 11 municipalities, including Bellwood and Melrose Park, in the Chancery Division of Cook County Circuit Court. Maywood Trustee Ron Rivers was absent.

The eight-count lawsuit, filed May 23, seeks monetary damages as a result of a “civil conspiracy” on the part of the doctors and drug firms comprising deceptive marketing, fraud and negligence.

Among the pharmaceutical firms listed as defendants are Purdue Pharma, Allergan and Cardinal Health Inc. A pain clinic that once operated in Melrose Park before moving to Riverside, and that was owned by Dr. Joseph Giacchino, is also being sued.

In 2011, the state revoked Giacchino’s medical license for “improperly prescribing controlled substances and providing medications to female patients in exchange for sex.”

Ari Scharg, a partner at Edelson PC, said that Giacchino’s clinic was “one of the biggest pill mills in the country.”

As part of the retention agreement, the village will not be required to pay attorneys’ fees or costs related to the lawsuit unless the defendants settle, retain a favorable judgement or the village “is found to have engaged in sanctionable conduct.”

If the defendants settle or receive a favorable judgement, Edelson would recover fees ranging from 23 percent to 32 percent, depending on when the case is resolved.

At a board meeting in May, Alfred Murray, a senior litigator with Edelson, said that the actions of the defendants have contributed to an opioid epidemic that has had myriad “economic impacts that are hard to quantify,” including lost productivity in the form of employee absenteeism, and increased costs for health insurance, criminal justice and substance abuse treatment programs, among other costs.

When the village of River Forest approved a retention agreement with Edelson last month, the village’s attorney said that indications are that a resolution or settlement could be reached sometime this year, according to a Chicago Tribune report. VFP 

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