The Huffington Post reported that the opioid epidemic plaguing the nation isn't showing signs of slowing down. Officials in government and victims of the epidemic are attempting to bring legal action against opioid manufacturers. The national headlines are currently focused on an ongoing federal lawsuit in Ohio. A small parish filing in Louisiana, however, has also decided to take a stand against opioid manufacturers. This is made possible in part by the state’s unique civil code and could have long-term consequences for the drug producers in the state of Louisiana and beyond.
Four years ago, Tyler M. Roach and his wife sustained injuries when their car was rear-ended. Roach’s wife was prescribed opioid-based painkillers and became addicted to the prescription drugs, according to their attorney Scott Bickford of Martzell Bickford & Centola. Their child, born during this period, was diagnosed at birth with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, or NAS, Bickford said. According to a court filing, the newborn spent several painful days detoxing in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and will likely suffer from developmental issues for the remainder of her life. Babies exposed to these drugs in vitro can become addicted to the opioids, according to National Institutes of Health research. A diagnosis after birth of NAS often includes immediate withdrawal symptoms such as:
- Excessive crying
- Heavy sweating
- Diarrhea and vomiting
- Tremors, convulsions, and/or seizures
- Difficulty sleeping,
- Loss of appetite
In addition, newer studies suggest that NAS can cause long-term side effects including:
- The development of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
- Growth delays
- Behavioral problems and/or the inability to function independently
Facing the reality of their own child’s battle with NAS, the Roaches contacted a lawyer in their area. The legal team filed a class action petition. Tyler Roach, the “natural tutor for Baby K.E.R.”, was listed as the lead plaintiff. This lawsuit against a local pharmacy, as well as the drug manufacturers and distributors, alleges fraudulent activity on part of the accused parties. Unspecified damages are also requested. If successful, pharmaceutical companies will be forced to face future lawsuits that could cost them hundreds of billions of dollars in damages.
If you’ve been injured or are seeking compensation for opioid addiction, contact the lawyers at Martzell, Bickford & Centola. Our compassionate lawyers have experience dealing with opioid addiction cases and will do their best to get you the justice you deserve.