Court dismisses North Dakota lawsuit against opioid manufacturer

The lawsuit against Connecticut-based Purdue Pharma was filed on May 2 under seal and announced on Tuesday. (Source: MGN)
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BISMARCK, N.D. - A Burleigh County judge has thrown out the state’s lawsuit against the opioid manufacture Purdue Pharma L.P., which made prescription painkillers like OxyContin.

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem sued the company in May 2018, claiming the company targeted vulnerable patient populations, such as the elderly and veterans, while refusing to recognize the increased risk associated with opioid use in these patient populations.

“We disagree with the Court’s interpretation of the state’s claims and applicable law in numerous key areas,” said Stenehjem.

According to Stenehjem, the court’s ruling is contrary to decisions made by every other court around the country based upon the same or similar allegations and legal arguments made by Attorneys General. He noted that there are fundamental differences between consumer protection law and civil tort cases that the court may not have fully appreciated.

“The court’s ruling in the area of consumer protection law has much broader implications than just this one significant case, potentially negatively affecting long-standing consumer protection law in North Dakota. I am confident that the State has strong claims against these defendants, whose unconscionable actions demand they be held accountable, and there are well-reasoned arguments that support our position. I look forward to the opportunity to present our arguments to the North Dakota Supreme Court in seeking a reversal of the district court’s decision.”

Stenehjem says the state will appeal to the ND Supreme Court.

Purdue Pharma reached a settlement with Oklahoma in March for $270 million to create an addiction treatment center and money to help cities battle the opioid crisis.