NY State Opioid Trial Continues With Defense Witnesses to Set to Testify

The ongoing New York opioid trial is approaching the 4-month mark since opening arguments began on June 28, 2021. The sprawling trial once included companies all along the supply chain from manufacturers to marketers to distributors, many of which have since settled. It is the first opioid case in the United States to be tried before a jury.

Leading up to the trial’s opening arguments, several original defendants, including Johnson & Johnson and the pharmacies CVS, Walgreens, Rite-Aid and Wal-Mart, were severed from the trial.

Though the trial is not yet over, it has already garnered favorable results for the state of New York and its two hardest-hit communities, Suffolk and Nassau Counties.

To date, key results from the trial include:

  • The three largest U.S. drug distributors — McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health Inc. and AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation — settled claims with New York State for a combined $1.18 billion
  • Endo Pharmaceuticals and its subsidiaries agreed to a settlement with New York State, and Suffolk and Nassau Counties, totaling $50 million
  • Johnson & Johnson settled with the state of New York for $230 million, and as part of their agreement, the company agreed to stop making opioids

Simmons Hanly Conroy Partner Jayne Conroy has stood on the front lines of the trial representing Suffolk County, alongside New York State Senior Enforcement Counsel John Oleske, who represents the state, and Hunter Shkolnik of Napoli Shkolnik, who represents Nassau County. Together, the three attorneys represent one of the country’s worst-hit communities in the opioid epidemic.

Lead Counsel Jayne Conroy prepares for opening arguments in the ongoing consolidated opiate litigation in New York State at Touro College. Several defendants settled during the intervening months and the trial has since moved back to New York Supreme Court in Central Islip.

As the trial resumed again last week in the New York Supreme Court in Central Islip, attention was focused on the remaining defendants’ expert witnesses. One defense witness, Florida-based Dr. Melanie Rosenblatt, testified on how the opioid crisis was not the result of reckless business practices on behalf of pharmaceutical companies, but rather the result of poorly-behaved doctors and their hatching of pill mills across the country.

Such testimony fits exactly with what Conroy warned the jury about at the start of the trial, namely that defendants would likely shirk any and all responsibility for the country’s opioid crisis.

In her opening argument, Conroy said:

“You will not hear these defendants accept any blame for this epidemic. You will hear them blame everyone else. 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.”

As the trial now heads into its final phases, Conroy, along with attorneys Oleske and Shkolnik, will get their opportunity to cross-examine the defense’s expert witnesses — a prospect that is likely to spark fireworks across the media.

For more details on any of the previous weeks in the New York opioid trial, visit past coverage:

Remaining defendants in the trial include Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Allergan Finance and Anda, Inc.

Simmons Support Team
Simmons Hanly ConroyWritten by:

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