CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Lawyers who represent approximately 600 West Virginia children who were exposed to opioids while in the womb say they have now obtained a referral of cases to the West Virginia Judiciary’s Mass Litigation Panel.

The panel consists of seven active or senor status circuit court judges who hear cases with the intent of efficiently managing and resolving mass litigation cases.

According to the attorneys, the case will be brought on behalf of the children against “those responsible for the opioid epidemic.” The attorneys say they have been working for years to get justice for children who were born with neonatal abstinence syndrome, but the cases have allegedly fallen behind cases brought on by or on behalf of government entities.

“We are so pleased that Chief Justice Hutchinson has answered the call to refer the cases for these children to the Mass Litigation Panel, and we are hopeful that the Mass Litigation Panel will provide these children their own track so that they may receive justice as quickly as possible. The quicker they receive justice, the better the outcomes we will see for these most innocent victims of the opioid epidemic,” said Booth Goodwin, a former Southern District of West Virginia U.S. Attorney who is serving as one of the lawyers in the case.

The lawyers involved in the case include Stuart Calwell and L. Dante’ diTrapano of Calwell, Luce and DiTrapano, PLLC; Booth Goodwin and Benjamin Ware of Goodwin & Goodwin LLP; P. Rodney Jackson of P. Rodney Jackson and Associates PLLC; and Jesse Forbes of Forbes Law Offices PLLC.

Goodwin says bringing the case to the panel will help get the cases resolved in a much more timely manner than bringing each individual case to court.

“These judges from across our state are obviously tuned into the challenges faced by children exposed to opioids as well as the damage caused by those responsible for the opioid epidemic,” Goodwin said. “Unfortunately, there are likely thousands of children in our state who were born with neonatal abstinence syndrome. Bringing and prosecuting thousands of individual cases outside the Mass Litigation Panel would take years to resolve. These children should not have to wait years. That is why we sought this referral and are confident that the Mass Litigation Panel will see the need for an express track to justice for these children.”

Parents and guardians of children who were born dependent on opioids and believe they may have a claim can call 1-833-682-3060 to learn more.