Press Release City Files Lawsuit

Posted on 02/07/2019
The City of Casper has filed a lawsuit against drug companies in U.S. District Court naming more than fifteen opiate manufacturers and distributors across the country for alleged misrepresentations about the addictive properties of opiate medications. The City’s lawsuit raises numerous claims including failure to warn, public nuisance, fraud and deceit as well as gross negligence.  “Casper joins Carbon County in Wyoming and over 1,200 counties and municipalities across the country who are attempting to hold drug manufacturer and distributors responsible for the nation’s growing opioid crisis,” reported Mayor Charlie Powell.  “In the complaint, we have accused the companies of creating the public health crisis through their decades-long practice of overstating the safety and efficacy of narcotic drugs for the express purpose of prioritizing their growing drug sales over the interests and welfare of patients.”

The City of Casper lawsuit joins multidistrict opiate lawsuits across the country being consolidated before the Honorable Dan Polster in US District Court in Cleveland, Ohio for workup and discovery.  “Once discovery is complete, Casper will have the opportunity to have their case decided in Wyoming, by a Wyoming jury,” said Mayor Powell.  On August 10, 2017, President Trump declared the opiate epidemic a National Emergency. 

According to a recent New York Times article, the top four counties in Wyoming with the greatest number of opiate-related deaths per population, in descending order, are Fremont County, Uinta County, Carbon County, and Natrona County.  According to the Center for Disease Control, opiate abuse kills 170 people per day, and the National Institute of Health declared the opiate manufacturers’ “aggressive marketing” as a major cause of the epidemic.  Powell went on to list public resources impacted by the crisis including EMS, law enforcement, family services, morgues and medical services.  “These are enormous societal costs for which taxpayers are footing the bill,” said Powell.  “These are the damages that the lawsuit seeks to recover.  Casper leadership understands the immediacy and need for action.”

The lawsuit seeks millions of dollars in total damages to pay for costs of care for Casper’s residents as well as to recover the city’s costs for responding to the opioid epidemic.  According to Powell, “Casper is committed to protecting its citizens by initiating litigation in an effort to stop the makers of prescription painkillers from continuing their alleged deceptive marketing practices.”