SOURCE: Napoli Shkolnik PLLC

Napoli Shkolnik PLLC

September 20, 2017 07:30 ET

Portland Taps Napoli Shkolnik To Join Nationwide Opioid Lawsuit

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - September 20, 2017) - Maine's largest city selected the New York City-based litigation firm to help offset the "massive damages" that the heroin addiction epidemic has caused in and around the city of Portland, according to City Attorney Danielle West-Chuhta. The move guarantees the city a substantial portion of any future settlement or judgment, and Napoli Shkolnik attorney Paul Napoli said his firm waived all upfront legal fees and costs in the matter.

In 2016, forty-two Portlanders died of heroin overdoses, and statewide, an average of one Maine resident suffered a fatal overdose every day of that year. Both these figures represented about a 40 percent increase over 2015, and 2017's fatality numbers may be even more grim. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, about 80 percent of these heroin addicts were first addicted to prescription painkillers. State Attorney General Janet Mills recently joined a multistate inquiry to determine the responsibility of opioid manufacturers in this crisis.

To better represent the City of Portland, Napoli Shkolnik attorneys will work with Auburn, Maine-based Trafton, Matzen, Belleau & Frenette LLP. The two firms will work together "to take the financial burden of the opioid epidemic off of the taxpayers and put it on the companies which profited billions selling these drugs," said attorney Joseph L. Ciaccio.

Issues Involved
"Several years ago, opioid pain pill makers began selling powerful and addictive medications," explained Paul Napoli. "These companies didn't care about anything except drug profits," he added, and these manufacturers could charge more money for stronger pain pills.

As a result, addiction rates increased, especially among patients who were physically on the medications, and so they received even more of an opioid high. When doctors refused to refill the prescriptions, these addicted patients had to go somewhere, and most of them turned to heroin.

The societal costs of addiction are crippling at a time when most local governments simply do not have extra financial resources. According to one estimate, the annual cost of opioid addiction is about $79 billion, when considering health care, increased crime, and increased spending on homeless shelters, drug treatment centers, and other social programs.

"The corporate pill pushers who turned a blind eye to addiction, and who made billions because of this callous attitude, must now pay their fair share of these costs," said Napoli.

Compensation Available
Opioid-induced heroin addiction creates individual financial and nonfinancial costs as well. In addition to the physical injuries, addiction often involves the loss of a job, the loss of a family, and the loss of a future.

In addition to these compensatory damages, additional punitive damages are usually available in dangerous drug cases. Paul Napoli, remarked, "Money is the only language most of these companies speak. Until the company writes a big check, nothing will change."

About the firm
Napoli Shkolnik PLLC is a national litigation firm providing representation to persons in class action lawsuits and complex commercial cases, as well as victims of environmental contamination disasters, aviation accidents, defective prescriptions drugs and medical devices, asbestos-related illnesses, and other serious personal injury matters. With their principal offices in New York City and additional offices in California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Texas, as well as affiliates throughout the United States, Napoli Shkolnik PLLC is readily available to clients.

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