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Attorneys Fight to Protect Rights of Babies Born with Medical Complications in Litigation Against Opioid Industry

Attorneys Fight to Protect Rights of Babies Born with Medical Complications in Litigation Against Opioid Industry

A recent article profiling opiate attorneys and their representation of babies born with opioid-related medical conditions featured a quote from Domina Law Group’s own Founding Attorney David A. Domina. The article, published by Politico, focuses on an expansive lawsuit filed by over 1,4000 local governments, hospitals, unions, and Native American tribes against opioid drugmakers and distributors that doled out powerful pain medications while understating their risks.

As the article notes, a federal judge presiding over the pending case in Cleveland has been pushing parties to reach a single settlement that could potentially be worth hundreds of billions of dollars. That type of settlement structure is similar to the far-reaching settlements reached against the tobacco industry in the 1990s.

While plaintiffs in the suit would be entitled to a financial recovery of their damages in such a settlement, attorneys who are representing babies affected by the opioid epidemic are stepping forward to argue that claims involving children and their guardians have unique considerations to address, and that they should be kept separate.

Our firm and fellow opiate attorneys are raising important arguments about the reasons for keeping claims involving babies separate from the pending federal case and hundreds of other entities. These include:

  • Distinct from governments and businesses – Unlike government entities and businesses, babies have suffered direct harms due to the actions of drugmakers, and should be entitled to their own payments. That includes the estimated 200,000 babies born in opiate withdrawal and conditions like neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) between 2012 and 2016, and the many more being born with similar problems each year.
  • Medical expenses – Pursuing separate settlements would provide plaintiffs with greater opportunity to address their unique financial needs, especially past medical bills associated with the initial and often extensive medical needs of babies born in opioid withdrawal and with other related conditions. Babies and their guardians face tremendous costs after being born to opioid-addicted mothers, including hospital bills amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars more than expenses incurred by families with infants who don’t have complications.
  • Future needs – Claims involving babies affected by opioids also entail different issues when it comes to future needs. This can include various expenses related to needed medical procedures, medications, or devices, as well as unique medical conditions (including problems involving organs), and developmental and learning difficulties. There may also be many other concerns and issues these children will need to address as they get older, but which may not be readily apparent now.
  • Accountability – Attorneys representing opioid-dependent babies are also mindful of the need to ensure accountability on the part of Big Pharma and defendants whose conduct has had a far-reaching impact on the most vulnerable of victims. For example, attorneys have asked the court to compel these corporations into funding long-term research and medical monitoring programs that can include services such as screening for neurological and developmental problems as children age, and assistance as they become adults and enter the workforce. Because only a fraction of the tobacco settlements reached years ago went toward combatting tobacco use, advocates want to ensure funds go to meaningful and much-needed services, research, and prevention.

The fight for victims’ rights in the ongoing opioid litigation is a difficult and daunting task, especially as the corporate powers and elite behind Big Pharma have tremendous resources and powerful legal teams at their disposal. Fortunately, victims can find a way to make their voices heard by working with experienced and proven attorneys. Attorney Domina and our firm, for example, are representing Native American tribes in the case, and want to ensure they too have their stories and setbacks heard.

The ruling on requests over separate lawsuits will be much anticipated, and may provide further legitimacy to other groups of victims in the case who may also be at risk of having their unique needs overlooked. Native American tribes, who have also been hit hard by the nation’s opioid crisis, have already been granted the right to pursue their own legal issues in the case. As Mr. Domina tells Politico, “My suspicion is that if the babies get a separate track, then you’ll see a lot of individual cases. I don’t think it will stay as narrow.”

You can read the full Politico article here.

Nebraska Opiate Lawyers: Fighting for Justice

Domina Law Group is comprised of award-winning trial lawyers with years of experience helping the injured and the wronged in their fights against multi-billion dollar companies. This includes our work as opiate lawyers representing clients who have suffered damages and tragic consequences as a result of Big Pharma’s prioritization of profits over people. If you have questions regarding opioid litigation, your rights and options, and our firm’s services, please call (402) 493-4100 or contact us online to speak with an attorney.

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