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Nashua Becomes Second N.H. City to Take Opioid Companies to Court

Flickr | frankieleon

Nashua is now the second New Hampshire city to sue pharmaceutical giants over their alleged role fueling the community’s opioid crisis. The city’s complaint is almost identical to one filed on behalf of the city of Manchester in September.

Both were filed with the help of the same New York-based law firm, Napoli Shkolnik, and both go after the same set of drug companies. Both also claim those companies’ ignored the risks their products posed to patients and engaged in misleading marketing practices that, ultimately, gave rise to the opioid problems the cities are facing today.

“As a direct and foreseeable consequence of Defendants’ wrongful conduct, [Nashua] has been required to spend millions of dollars each year in its efforts to combat the public nuisance created by Defendants’ deceptive marketing campaign,” the complaint states. “Plaintiff has incurred and continues to incur costs related to opioid addiction and abuse, including, but not limited to, health care costs, criminal justice and victimization costs, social costs, and lost productivity costs. Defendants’ misrepresentations regarding the safety and efficacy of long-term opioid use proximately caused injury to Plaintiff and its residents.”

Joseph Ciaccio, an attorney with Napoli Shkolnik who is involved in both cases, said the goal of the Nashua lawsuit is also the same as Manchester's: to compensate the city both for the damage already done by opioids as well as for future cleanup it will need to keep doing in the years to come.

“As much as it’s about what they’ve already spent, a lot of it has to do also with what the city’s going to need to try to slow and eventually stop what’s happening,” Ciaccio said.

The city of Manchester’s lawsuit, meanwhile, has been transferred to a court in Ohio for review alongside more than 60 other similar cases filed by communities across the country. Ciaccio said he expects Nashua’s suit will eventually get consolidated with those other cases, as well.

Ciaccio said his firm is also in talks with other New Hampshire communities about filing their own lawsuits, but those conversations are still preliminary.

Casey McDermott is a senior news editor at New Hampshire Public Radio. Throughout her time as an NHPR reporter and editor, she has worked with colleagues across the newsroom to deepen the station’s accountability coverage, data journalism and audience engagement across platforms.

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