NY Fire Districts and Municipalities File Suit Against Opioid Consulting Firm

A group of 78 municipalities and fire districts in New York state have filed suit against a consulting firm associated with opioid manufacturers, seeking to recoup costs associated with the opioid epidemic. The suit names McKinsey & Company and alleges a variety of state law claims including deceptive trade practices, false advertising, negligence, negligent misrepresentation, fraud, unjust enrichment, and liability under a New York drug dealer law.

The suit claims McKinsey & Company helped Purdue Pharma successfully market opioids despite Purdue having plead guilty to misleading regulators, doctors and the public relative to the safety and addictiveness of OxyContin, and despite Purdue having entered into  a “Corporate Integrity Agreement” requiring it to refrain from further misrepresentations.

According to the complaint, the suit seeks to recoup:

(1) costs for providing medical care to patients suffering from opioid related addiction and injury;

(2) costs for providing treatment, counseling, and rehabilitation services;

(3) costs for providing treatment of infants born with opioid-related medical conditions;

(4) increased costs of law enforcement and public safety relating to the opioid epidemic;

(5) and costs associated with providing care for children whose parents suffer from opioid-related disability or incapacitation.

The suit follows earlier suits filed by 47 states against McKinsey & Company that were settled in 2021 for $573 million. In addition, a quick check on Lexis discloses at least 104 suits filed against the company in the past few weeks in federal court that are being consolidated before a Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. The suits I saw accuse McKinsey & Company of racketeering in violation of federal RICO statutes. Copies of representative suits are provided below.

Here is a listing of the plaintiffs in the NY case:

1.         VILLAGE OF AMITYVILLE, NY;

2.         TOWN OF BABYLON, NY;

3.         VILLAGE OF BABYLON, NY;

4.         BELLMORE FIRE DISTRICT, NY;

5.         VILLAGE OF BELLPORT, NY;

6.         TOWN OF BROOKHAVEN, NY;

7.         BROOKHAVEN AMBULANCE, NY;

8.         CENTEREACH FIRE DISTRICT, NY;

9.         CENTERPORT FIRE DISTRICT, NY;

10.       TOWN OF CLARKSTOWN, NY;

11.       VILLAGE OF EAST HAMPTON, NY;

12.       VILLAGE OF EAST ROCKAWAY, NY;

13.       VILLAGE OF FARMINGDALE, NY;

14.       VILLAGE OF FLORALPARK, NY;

15.       FRIENDSHIP ENGINE & HOSE CO, NY;

16.       VILLAGE OF GARDEN CITY, NY;

17.       VILLAGE OF GREAT NECK, NY;

18.       VILLAGE OF GREENPORT, NY;

19.       HAUPPAUGE FIRE DISTRICT, NY;

20.       TOWN OF HAVERSTRAW, NY;

21.       GARDEN CITY VILLAGE, NY;

22.       VILLAGE OF HEMPSTEAD, NY;

23.       HICKSVILLE WATER DISTRICT, NY;

24.       TOWN OF HUNTINGTON, NY;

25.       VILLAGE OF ISLAND PARK, NY;

26.       VILLAGE OF ISLANDIA, NY;

27.       TOWN OF ISUP, NY;

28.       ISLIP TERRACE FIRE DISTRICT, NY;

29.       VILLAGE OF LAKE GROVE, NY;

30.       VILLAGE OF LAWRENCE, NY;

31.       LEVITTOWN FIRE DISTRICT, NY;

32.       VILLAGE OF LINDENHURSTN, Y;

33.       VILLAGE OF LLOYD HARBOR, NY;

34.       CITY OF LONG BEACH, NY;

35.       VILLAGE OF LYNBROOK, NY;

36.       VILLAGE OF MASSAPEQUA PARK, NY;

37.       MEDFORD VOLUNTEER AMBULANCE, NY;

38.       MELVILLE FIRE DISTRICT, NY;

39.       MERRICK LIBRARY, NY;

40.       VILLAGE OF MILL NECK, NY;

41.       MILLER PLACE FIRE DISTRICT, NY;

42.       VILLAGE OF MILLERTON, NY;

43.       MOUNT SINAl FIRE DISTRICT, NY;

44.       NESCONSET FIRE DISTRICT, NY;

45.       VILLAGE OF NEW HYDE PARK, NY;

46.       VILLAGE OF NISSEQUOGE, NY;

47.       NORTH PATCHOGUE FIRE DISTRICT, NY;

48.       TOWN OF NORTH HEMPSTEAD, NY;

49.       NORTH MERRICK FIRE DISTRICT, NY;

50.       VILLAGE OF NORTHPORT, NY;

51.       TOWN OF ORANGETOWN, NY;

52.       TOWN OF OYSTER BAY, NY;

53.       VILLAGE OF PATCHOGUE, NY;

54.       VILLAGE OF POQUOTT, NY;

55.       PORT WASHINGTON WATER DISTRICT, NY;

56.       TOWN OF RAMAPO, NY;

57.       RIDGE FIRE DISTRICT, NY;

58.       TOWN OF RIVERHEAD, NY;

59.       ROSLYN WATER DISTRICT, NY;

60.       VILLAGE OF SALTAIRE, NY;

61.       TOWN OF SMITHTOWN, NY;

62.       SMITHTOWN FIRE DISTRICT, NY;

63.       SOUTH FARMINDALE FIRE DISTRICT, NY;

64.       TOWN OF SOUTHHAMPTON, NY;

65.       TOWN OF SOUTHOLD, NY;

66.       ST. JAMES FIRE DISTRICT, NY;

67.       VILLAGE OF STEWART MANOR, NY;

68.       STONY BROOK FIRE DISTRICT, NY;

69.       TOWN OF STONY POINT, NY;

70.       VILLAGE OF SUFFERN, NY;

71.       UNIONDALE FIRE DISTRICT, NY;

72.       VILLAGE OF VALLEY STREAM, NY;

73.       VILLAGE OF THE BRANCH, NY;

74.       TOWN OF WAPPINGER FALLS, NY;

75.       VILLAGE OF WAPPINGER FALLS, NY;

76.       VILLAGE OF WEST HAMPTON DUNES, NY;

77.       Village OF WEST HAVERSTRAW, NY; AND

78.       VILLAGE OF WESTBURY, NY.

Here is a copy of the current suit:

These two suits are representative of the racketeering suits being filed all across the country.

This is a suit filed in 2021 that presumably was one of those settled for $573 million.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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