Rome and Floyd County have filed suit against a dozen or so top opioid manufacturers and distributors in the country, seeking to recoup damages from the painkiller epidemic in their communities.
Chattooga and Whitfield counties and the city of Cartersville also are plaintiffs in the suit filed late Friday in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Georgia, in Rome.
"This is really a manufactured crisis, driven by greed," attorney Bob Finnell said in talks with local officials last week.
Finnell and Andy Davis of Brinson, Askew, Berry et al — also in Rome — are taking the lead on the 243-page class-action complaint filed by a team of five law firms, including two in Atlanta and one in Dalton.
Davis said that it would first be sent to a federal district court in Ohio, where claims from across the nation are being consolidated.
"The idea is to let one judge decide all common issues of law and fact," Davis said. "Then the cases could be sent back to complete the litigation or they could be settled there."
Floyd County commissioners spent several weeks getting input from local hospitals and physicians before signing on to the action against the big pharmaceutical companies. Finnell said the suit is narrowly directed.