CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WTRF) – A landmark opioid trial has wrapped up in West Virginia.
Closing arguments concluded last week, and now it’s in the federal judge’s hands.
Our communities and our families have been poisoned by these drugs.Clayton Fitzsimmons, Attorney, Fitzsimmons Law Firm
Cabell County and the City of Huntington are suing three huge drug distribution companies McKesson, AmeriSource Bergen and Cardinal, for inflaming the opioid epidemic by flooding the area with painkillers.
Two Wheeling attorneys, Robert and Clayton Fitzsimmons, were on the plaintiffs’ legal team and detail the case exclusively with 7News.
The case alleged that these drug distribution companies, who are required by law to monitor the volume and frequency of the orders, didn’t do it.
Something’s going on here, folks. That’s a little bit too many pills. Everybody from age 1 to 100 is getting 80 pills a year, of these opioids that are addictive pills. Why is that?Bob Fitzsimmons, Attorney, Fitzsimmons Law Firm
Emails among the distributors came to light, showing they mocked West Virginians and their growing drug dependence, using the term “pill-billies”.
They were terrible, they were demeaning, They were directed principally at the people here in West Virginia using the Beverly Hillbillies, that song, they called us the “pillbillies”.Bob Fitzsimmons, Attorney, Fitzsimmons Law Firm
Making fun of us, which to me is an indication of recognition they knew there was a problem and they disregarded it. And why? It’s the line of the corporate earnings.Clayton Fitzsimmons, Attorney, Fitzsimmons Law Firm
After 40 days of trial involving 60 witnesses, it’s in the judge’s hands now.
The money the plaintiffs are asking for is more than $2 billion for abatement of the problems these drugs have caused.
This is a disease. It’s not just something that happens to bad people. It happens to everybody. It happens to all families. And we have to embrace it and we have to just get out and do the best we can.Bob Fitzsimmons, Attorney, Fitzsimmons Law Firm
The case was heard by a judge rather than a jury in U.S. District Court.
He has not yet rendered a decision.