Lawyers representing local governments in lawsuits against opioid drug makers and distributors successfully pressed for the release of market share data collected by the federal government. Lead attorneys in those cases made their request to the Ohio federal judge overseeing the multidistrict litigation, which seeks to compensate municipalities for increased costs of law enforcement, drug courts, emergency medical services, healthcare, medical examiner fees and other expenses precipitated by the flood of opioids in the U.S. marketplace.


The lead plaintiffs attorneys asked U.S. District Judge Dan A. Polster for the opportunity to share information contained in a federal database, which includes the manufacturers, distributors, and pharmacies, and the municipalities into which those companies sold opioid drugs. According to Law360 (sub req’d), the reports “will include the names of all companies that made or labeled more than 5 percent of the market share of opioids distributed in the relevant county in at least three of the nine years available in the data from the federal Automated Reports and Consolidated Ordering System, known as ARCOS….”

The plaintiffs argued that release of the information should limit – not expand – the number of defendants in the multidistrict litigation, and that without the data, “hundreds of additional defendants with trivial market shares would be named in more than a thousand amended complaints.”Defense counsel attempted to the block the request, claiming that market share is not the primary factor in assessing responsibility for the nation’s opioid epidemic. The U.S. Department of Justice did not object to the sharing the ARCOS data if the plaintiffs agreed to follow court orders to ensure confidentiality, a position that aided the plaintiffs’ argument.

Sommers Schwartz represents several Michigan counties, cities, and townships in the opioid litigation, helping them recover the economic costs they have incurred to combat the crisis locally.