OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The State of Oklahoma is dismissing its single lawsuit against three of the nation’s largest opioid distributors, but will file new lawsuits against each company.
Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter announced in a news release Friday that the lawsuit filed in January against McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen Corp ended up in federal court. The charges are being dismissed to get the single lawsuit out of federal court and get three new lawsuits into state court, according to the news release.
“The strategic move comes three weeks after McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen Corp. removed the state’s case from Cleveland County District Court to a federal court in Oklahoma City. Dismissing the charges takes the case out of federal court,” the news release states.
The three companies’ plan is to get the state’s case buried with “thousands of other cases in Ohio,” the news release states.
There are roughly 2,000 other opioid cases being heard by a federal judge in Ohio, said Alex Gerszewski, Communications Director for the Attorney General’s Office.
Hunter said the state wants the opioid distributors held accountable in an Oklahoma courtroom.
“It is regrettable, yet not surprising, that these companies are taking a page out of Johnson & Johnson’s failed playbook in an attempt to escape responsibility for their irresponsible and deadly business practices in our state. It is because of their misconduct we have lost thousands of lives, while hundreds of thousands continue to struggle with addiction. The team and I look forward to refiling these cases where they belong, in state court,” Hunter said.
Hunter said in a previous news release that the state is seeking damages for misconduct by the companies that fueled diversion, leading to the death of thousands of Oklahomans.
The state will file the new petitions against each company in state court at a later date, according to the news release.