The city of Boston has retained a South Carolina law firm in anticipation of a lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies to recover damages stemming from the opioid epidemic, Mayor Marty Walsh announced Tuesday.
Motley Rice LLC was selected after Boston heard from nine firms interested in representing the city following a request for information issued in February.
Motley Rice will immediately begin to gather relevant information with the intent of filing suit by the fall.
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"Boston, like so many cities across the country, has invested significant time, money and resources to aggressively attack the opioid crisis from every angle," the Democratic mayor said in a statement. "Now is the time to finally hold the pharmaceutical industry responsible."
The firm already represents many local governments in actions against opioid manufacturers and distributors, including Chicago, Santa Clara County, California, and seven states.
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey's office last week sued Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, alleging the Connecticut company downplayed the prescription painkiller's risks.
Purdue said it "vigorously" denies the allegations.
Massachusetts is among roughly two dozen states, including Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee and Texas, that have filed suit against drugmakers recently. Counties, municipalities and even hospitals have filed similar lawsuits.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 115 people a day die from an opioid overdose on average.