Reilly Pozner has been retained to represent a coalition including the City of Denver and sixteen fellow Colorado local governments who have joined together to take a stand in filing suit against 20 manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioids. The lawsuit aims to hold the defendants accountable for the far-reaching effects on residents and government budgets.

With 870 Denver citizens having lost their lives between 2008-2017 at the hands of opioids and countless others being treated for addiction at hospitals and care centers during that time period, there is not one part of Denver public life or government that the crisis has not affected. The lawsuit will join over 1,500 cases filed on behalf of counties and cities across the United States.

The case alleges charges of civil conspiracy, fraud and deceit, unjust enrichment, gross negligence, and causing a public nuisance against the 20 drug companies. Specifically, the lawsuit contends these drug companies unethically and unlawfully promoted and distributed opioid prescriptions while purposefully underselling their negative and often times deadly side effects. Key to the case is evidence that these drug manufacturers were informing doctors that the risk of addiction to their opioid-based products was very low while the chances of overcoming addiction were very high; both claims that have been proven false based on a study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Big-name defendants engaged in “fraudulent and deceptive” marketing that went in direct violation of The Colorado Consumer Protection Act.

“These companies knew better, and they still allowed the devastation to occur in our communities, and communities across the United States,” Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said in a statement. “This crisis could have and should have been avoided. So, we’re using every legal tool available to hold opioid manufacturers and distributors liable for the social and economic devastation their actions have caused in our cities, our counties and to our people.”

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