News attorneys: Opioid distribution data should be public

Court Alerts

Attorneys for news organizations argued Thursday that the U.S. public should be allowed to see federal data about how prescription opioids were distributed as the nation’s overdose crisis was worsening.

They urged a three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati to overturn a lower court judge’s denial of access to the information. The judges will rule later.

“The value of transparency here is great,” said Karen C. Lefton, an Akron, Ohio, attorney representing The Washington Post. The data concerns “a public health crisis” that affects many more people than a typical case, she said.

The data is a key piece of evidence in hundreds of lawsuits filed by state and local governments against companies that make and distribute the drugs. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration database details the flow of prescription painkillers to pharmacies, showing the number and doses of pills.

A Justice Department attorney told the judges releasing the data would compromise investigations.

“This is an issue of really critical importance to the United States and DEA,” said government attorney Sarah Carroll. Making the information public, she said, “would tip defendants off to the scope of DEA investigations.”

Cleveland-based U.S. District Judge Dan Polster, who is overseeing more than 1,500 of the lawsuits, had ruled in July 2018 that the information cannot be made public. He said that doing so would reveal trade secrets. The Post and the HD Media newspaper chain, which had asked the court for the data, then appealed to the federal circuit.

Related listings

  • Group takes oil refinery fight to North Dakota's high court

    Group takes oil refinery fight to North Dakota's high court

    Court Alerts 03/24/2019

    An environmental group is taking its battle against an oil refinery being developed near Theodore Roosevelt National Park to the North Dakota Supreme Court.The National Parks Conservation Association argued in its Wednesday filing that an air quality...

  • Court: Germany must press US over Yemen drone strikes

    Court: Germany must press US over Yemen drone strikes

    Court Alerts 03/19/2019

    A court in Germany ruled Tuesday that the government has partial responsibility to ensure U.S. drone strikes controlled with the help of an American base on German territory are in line with international law, but judges stopped short of ordering the...

  • Case about indigent drivers and drivers' licenses in court

    Case about indigent drivers and drivers' licenses in court

    Court Alerts 03/09/2019

    A federal court judge will hear motions in a lawsuit over a North Carolina law that mandates the revocation of drivers' licenses for unpaid traffic tickets even if the driver can't afford to pay.Advocacy groups sued in May, seeking to declare the law...

Dedicated To Protecting The Best Interests of Your Business

If you need to craft an agreement between you and investors or business partners, it is prudent to have it reviewed by a business attorney before you sign anything. You may also want to have your vendor contracts, office leases, sales agreements, and other types of agreements looked over as well. From start-ups to established corporations, the Chicago business attorneys at the Roth Law Group have the know-how to help businesses keep legal trouble at bay.

Even if you try to play by all the rules, someone may see that you are successful and try bringing a legal claim against your business. In this instance you need a determined legal team to go against your detractors. Running a business is stressful enough without someone suing you. Leave it to professional lawyers who know business law and the Illinois court system. We are here to provide our clients with the attention and feel of a small law firm, while obtaining big law firm results.