In the News: Partner Jayne Conroy’s Opening Arguments Net National Headlines in New York Opioid Trial

NYS Opioid Trial

Within the walls of Touro College’s two-story law school auditorium in Central Islip, Long Island, opening statements began in the New York opioid trial on June 28, with Simmons Hanly Conroy Partner Jayne Conroy representing plaintiffs in Suffolk County. The trial is the first opioid case in the United States to be heard before a jury, which will collectively determine the trial’s outcome.

Located in Suffolk County, the setting for the trial is home to one of the hardest-hit communities in the United States, as Conroy made poignantly clear in her opening statement. “There is a terrible darkness here. The evidence is going to show that more prescription opioids were shipped to Suffolk County than any other county in all of New York.”

In her opening statement, Conroy also noted how defendants will likely shirk responsibility for the county’s opioid crisis. “You will not hear these defendants accept any blame for this epidemic. You will hear them blame everyone else,” Conroy said. “The FDA, DEA, our police, our communities, our county officials, our state officials, doctors, they’re going to point the finger at everyone except themselves. I want you to listen for that.”

Once outside the courthouse, Conroy and fellow plaintiff attorney Napoli Shkolnik of Hunter Shkolnik, who is representing Nassau County, answered questions from dozens of reporters. The trial’s opening statements made national headlines across more than a dozen prominent media outlets, including televised segments on ABC’s Good Morning America and others.

“We are going to be able to, for the first time, give our story to the jury of what has happened over the last two decades with respect to the promotion, the marketing of opioids, and the distribution of opioids that has created this massive flood throughout all our communities in the country,” Conroy told reporters. “We are starting here because the problem is terrible in Suffolk County, in Nassau County and the State of New York.”

The sprawling case, which had originally included companies from all along the supply chain from manufacturing to marketing to distribution, saw several defendants — pharmacies, including CVS, Walgreens, Rite-Aid and Walmart — severed from the case in the days leading up to the trial. On June 26, another defendant, Johnson & Johnson, settled with the state of New York for $263 million and agreed to stop making opioids.

The trial is expected to last months, during which the jury will hear from dozens of witnesses that, according to the New York Times, include a county medical examiner, doctors, and addiction experts, among others.

A full list of the coverage from the bellwether opioid settlement is as follows:





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