Rockville Taking Opioid Makers to Court

Rockville has become the latest jurisdiction to sue opioid manufacturers and distributors filing action in federal court in Baltimore on Monday.

“I think it’s a wakeup call to the manufacturers and the distributors,” Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton said Tuesday. “This is how the stop smoking ban started. People woke up one day and said, ‘Look who’s getting rich off this,’ and ‘Look at the damage it’s doing.’”

The suit seeks restitution for harm suffered because of deceptive and fraudulent marketing by several pharmaceutical manufacturers and the failure of certain wholesalers to report suspicious purchases, according to the city. As a result, these manufacturers and wholesalers violated federal and state laws.

Newton said the city has only just started tallying the cost of opioids on the city; as a result, the city doesn’t have an estimate on the costs it hopes to recover.

“We’ll do our due diligence, and they’re do theirs, and we’ll see what’s going to happen,” she said.

Rockville City Hall joins Montgomery County as local jurisdictions filing suits over the opioid epidemic. The law firm Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd is representing both the city and the county.

Robbins Geller approached the city about filing the suit, Newton said.

The city is not paying the law firm. It will be paid from the damages recovered.

The mayor and council voted unanimously to support the lawsuit in a closed session June 4, city spokeswoman Marylou Berg said.

As the new president of the Maryland Municipal League, which represents the interests of the state’s 157 cities and towns, Newton said she would like a statewide discussion about the opioid addiction.

Action by mayor and council separate what I’d like to do with MML discussion statewide.

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Douglas Tallman

About Douglas Tallman

Reporter with 35 years experience throughout Maryland. Reach me at or via Twitter at @MCM-Doug


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