Attorney General Matt Denn announced Oct. 31 that the Delaware Department of Justice retained a national group of attorneys and experts to investigate and, if appropriate, file suit against opioid manufacturers, opioid distributors and other entities that may have contributed to the opioid epidemic impacting Delaware.
“The goal is very simple,” Denn said. “We will make sure that any entities responsible under Delaware law for creating this crisis help us solve it, and that they stop any practices still going on that are contributing to this crisis.”
The lead law firm retained by Delaware, Fields, has filed national litigation against the opioid industry on behalf of the Cherokee Nation. The other firms working with Fields are Gilbert; Connolly Gallagher; and Dolt, Thompson, Shepherd & Conway. The team includes Delaware attorneys and attorneys with subject matter expertise from around the country, including former Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway. Former Deputy Assistant DEA Administrator Joseph Rannazzisi, who led the DEA’s Diversion Control Division and recently focused national attention on Congressional action to water down federal drug interdiction laws, will serve as a consulting member of the team
The selection of the law firms took place pursuant to a publicly-posted request for proposals, which prompted 14 responses. The retained law firms, which were selected by a committee that included DOJ attorneys and a representative from the Department of Health and Social Services, will bear the expense of the investigation and litigation and will be compensated from any eventual recovery that the state may receive.
Under the retention agreement with the law firms, the Delaware Department of Justice will retain decision-making authority over all facets of the investigation and any litigation, including decisions about filing and settling lawsuits.