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Judge Approves Tennessee AG’s Withdrawal from Opioid Lawsuit

KINGSPORT, Tenn. — Sullivan County Chancery Court Judge E.G. Moody has approved Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery’s move to back down from taking over and dismissing a lawsuit brought by Northeast Tennessee district attorneys general against three major opioid manufacturers.

In Kingsport Law Court today a representative from Slatery’s office read a statement into the record to formally withdraw Slatery’s motion to intervene.

Three lawsuits, including the Northeast Tennessee suit, were filed by 14 district attorneys general across the state against Purdue Pharma and its related companies, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals and Endo Pharmaceuticals. They want to hold drugmakers and individuals responsible for the opioid crisis.

Slatery has also withdrawn his motions to intervene in the other two suits.

Now that Slatery has withdrawn his motions to intervene the district attorneys are free to continue with the suits. Gerard Stranch, the lead attorney representing the plaintiffs in the suits, said today after the hearing that if Slatery had taken over the suits he would’ve worked to get them dismissed so he could reach a settlement with the defendants.

The Northeast Tennessee lawsuit was the first filed, in June 2017, by three district attorneys, including Sullivan County DAG Barry Staubus.

The suit alleges that a 20-year fraudulent marketing campaign downplayed the effects of opioid prescription drug use and fueled the state’s “opioid epidemic.” Individuals, including a Morristown doctor, are also being sued.

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