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Charleston Business

Joe Rice Appointed NOL Co-Lead

Jan 09, 2018 02:39PM ● By Kathleen Maris

Motley Rice co-founder Joe Rice has been appointed co-lead counsel in the National Prescription Opiate Litigation being coordinated in the Northern District of Ohio. U.S. District Judge Dan Aaron Polster announced the leadership appointments Jan. 4, 2018 after approving a Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee that will oversee the MDL.

Currently, there are approximately 200 lawsuits filed in Federal court involving more than 50 defendants and hundreds of governmental claimants. The pharmaceutical industry marketed highly addictive prescription painkillers, thereby contributing to a growing epidemic that claims thousands of American lives each year.

In 2016, South Carolina was 9th in the nation in opioid prescribing rates. Since 2011, more than 3,000 South Carolinians have died from prescription opioid overdoses. Combined heroin and prescription opioid deaths in South Carolina exceeded the number of homicides in the state in 2015.

“With a rising death toll and the grip of addiction impacting millions across the country in some way, shape or form, there’s no question that the opioid epidemic is one of the most pressing public health issues of our time. We have some very hard work ahead of us,” said Rice. “Thanks in large part to the leadership of many cities and counties throughout the country involved in this litigation, and to the many other states that are pursuing simultaneous litigation, we look forward to rolling up our sleeves and getting to work to help usher in the change and accountability that is long overdue and desperately needed to save lives.”

Rice’s commitment to litigation aimed at furthering public health initiatives has spanned more than 30 years.