Town of Amherst Hires Legal Firm in Lawsuit Against Opiod Pharmaceutical Companies

Mar. 6, 2018

AMHERST, NY – After unanimously adopting a resolution in October 2017, the Town of
Amherst Board is authorizing its Attorney’s Office to institute suit against the manufacturers and
distributors of opioid pain medication, as well as Key Opinion Leaders hired by those
manufacturers and distributors to mislead the public at large into believing, against all medical
science, that opioids prescribed under a doctor’s care cannot and do not lead to addiction.

According to Town Supervisor Brian J. Kulpa, “Amherst has seen numerous impacts to residents
and the community throughout this crisis. The greatest impact, addiction and loss of life, has
resulted in heightened concern among the community and Town. The Town has also seen
increased costs to the municipality and its taxpayers, as well as a negatively-impacted quality of
life for many.”

“First responders in the Town of Amherst have observed firsthand the devastating effects of the
opioid epidemic. In 2016 alone, 14 deaths were attributed to opioid related overdoses within the
Town. For every death, there are many more overdoses where individuals were saved by family,
friends, medical professionals or first responders. Citizens, families and our community in general
have suffered greatly as a result of this deadly epidemic,” said Amherst Police Chief John C.

Amherst’s lawsuit details the Defendant’s wrongdoings, which include: deceptive acts and
practices by engaging in false advertising in the conduct of a business, trade, or commerce in this
state whereby residents have been injured by this violation; public nuisance in that Defendants
have negligently engaged in conduct or omissions which endanger or injure the property, health,
safety or comfort of a considerable number of persons in the Town of Amherst by their production,
promotion, and marketing of opioids for use by Amherst residents; fraud though misrepresentation
and omissions of fact materials to Amherst and its residents to induce them to purchase, approve
for purchase, administer, and consume opioids; and unjust enrichment by the Defendants profiting
and benefiting from opioid purchases.

The Town Attorney’s Office will be filing suit on March 6, 2018, after publishing a Request for
Proposals, which yielded responses from several qualified law firms. An internal committee
consisting of the Town Attorney, Deputy Town Attorney, Deputy Town Supervisor, Chief of Staff
to the Town Supervisor, Chief Fire Dispatcher, and Chief of Police interviewed two firms in
February 2018, and has recommended that the Town Board hire Napoli Shkolnik, PLLC, a firm
experienced in handling these cases, as outside counsel to represent the Town in this lawsuit.

According to Stanley Sliwa, Town Attorney, “After conducting a nationwide search, we
determined to hire Napoli Shkolnik, a New York City based plaintiffs’ firm which specializes in
mass tort litigation because they have a great deal of experience in handling large-scale
pharmaceutical cases. In addition, it is important to have a firm that is well-positioned to drive pretrial
negotiations with the target defendants. Napoli Shkolnik represent roughly 20 municipalities
in similar suits and they are going to have a very large say in how the case is resolved. Indeed,
Hunter Shkolnik has been designated as one of the lead attorneys in this litigation which has been
consolidated in Suffolk County for discovery and settlement purposes. This will put the Town of
Amherst in the best position to recover an amount that benefits our residents, our first-responders,
and the law enforcement community.”

“It is critical for our community to address the opioid crisis. The lawsuit is just one avenue to stem
the flow of opioids as well as recoup dollars that will benefit our town,” added Councilwoman
Jacqualine Berger. “Amherst will expand our education programs and outreach into the community
through the Task Force for Healthy Communities/Healthy Youth.”

The Town of Amherst Attorney’s office will work closely with Napoli Shkolnik, PLLC as the
lawsuit moves forward. Napoli Shkolnik is working on a contingency basis and will only receive
remuneration for their efforts and reimbursement for any costs if the suit is successful.

4 Responses to “Town of Amherst Hires Legal Firm in Lawsuit Against Opiod Pharmaceutical Companies”

  1. John Tomaczyk says:

    We have three attorneys, one of them or all of them can’t handle this? Waste of more tax payer money.

  2. John Tomaczyk says:

    To all the people who say the opoid crisis is important, I’m not saying it isn’t, I’m complaining about the attorneys the Democrat town board hired can’t do this themselves, because we all know outside legal counsel is expensive

  3. Peter says:

    Good grief! Can Amherst attorneys handle anything? Everything has to be farmed out? If it continues, Amherst attorneys need to be fired and hire ones that have some depth and breadth of understanding law. They are the “waste of taxpayer money.” Which one of the losers thought this was a good idea?

  4. Paul W Wolf says:

    A lawsuit like this is very specialized and requires not just one attorney but a law firm experienced in this type of litigation. The firm hired is working on a contingency basis, so they don’t get paid unless the Town is awarded money. As the firm hired is not being paid on an hourly basis this is actually a good deal for Amherst taxpayers.

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