Sedgwick County commissioners sue opioid distributors and manufacturers

Published: Dec. 21, 2017 at 11:57 AM CST
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The Sedgwick County board of commissioners is suing more than 20 opioid distributors and manufacturers including McKesson Corporation.

The Wichita law firm Prochaska, Howell & Prochaska LLC filed the complaint in federal court on Thursday.

The law firm will represent the county. This is the first county in Kansas to file a lawsuit about the epidemic.

The complaint outlines the lawsuit is to eliminate the hazard to public health and safety caused by the opioid epidemic, to abate the nuisance caused by it and get money that has been spent because of the deceptive and unfair marketing or unlawful prescriptions.

The lawsuit will not cost the county or taxpayers anything. The lawyers involved will not be paid unless the county receives money from the lawsuit.

Prochaska, Howell & Prochaska LLC says Kansas ranks as the 16th worse state in the opioid epidemic and according to the complaint, deaths in Sedgwick Count due to opioids have been on the rise.

The goal of the lawsuit, the law firm says, is to let people know the problem impacts everyone.

"We want to educate people that it can happen to good families and all types of families," Attorney Brad Prochaska says.

The lawsuit pits Sedgwick County against some of the biggest companies in the U.S.

"It's telling that there's an enormous amount of money these companies are making, which is the motivation to allow the crisis to grow and continue and we have to step up and stop it," Prochaska says.

Prochaska, Howell & Prochaska LLC has a team of 28 people working on the case, which it expects to take several years.

"The problem is getting worse, not better," Prochaska says. "(It has been) getting worse for a decade and someone needs to step up to the plate."