CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — Closing arguments began today in Cabell County and Huntington’s lawsuit against the top three opioid distributors for their role in the opioid crisis.
It was a long day of closing arguments in the landmark opioid trial that began at the federal courthouse in Charleston on May 3. Attorneys for Cabell County and the City of Huntington are trying to convince a judge that Amerisourcebergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson shipped excessive doses of opioids to the area.
The Plaintiff’s lead counsel, Paul Farrell says, “We started this process in March of 2017 to try and bring some solution to our city and state. And were almost there.”
The county and city attorneys recapped the testimony of dozens of witnesses who described how they traced hundreds of opioid-related deaths. They also cited the more than 1,100 overdose deaths from 2002 to 2008 and nearly 6,500 overdoses from 2015 to 2020.
Attorneys for Amerisourcebergen countered by saying they are not responsible because doctors prescribe the number of opioids distributed. Their attorney saying in court today, “The only thing to be said about the distributors is that they did not second guess these medical judgments. They weren’t qualified to do that. It wasn’t their place to do that. The healthcare supply chain would have been fractured if they had done that.”
Attorneys for the city and county are anticipating a positive outcome. “They’re pleased with the way things are going and at some point in the not too distant future we are going to get a resolution to this,” said Mike Woelfel, co-counsel for Cabell County.
Attorneys for Cardinal Health and McKesson will give their closing arguments Wednesday morning.
After closing arguments wrap up, the case goes into the judge’s hands. Attorney’s for both sides say they don’t anticipate a decision for at least 30 days.