“Just following in the footsteps of giants,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Maloney.
In 2022, after almost seven years of investigation, litigation, and settlements, Maloney, Assistant Attorney General Evan Romanoff, and other members of their team are starting to see results from seven years spent prosecuting major opioid players, including giants like Johnson & Johnson and Purdue Pharma.
Minnesota governmental agencies will receive $300 million in settlements. Additionally, documents from these companies will be made public — a move Maloney pushed hard for, Romanoff said.
“These documents being available to the public in perpetuity online forever is … truly important in stemming future crises and holding bad actors accountable, and [for] researchers in the future seeing how this all happened and deterring future bad conduct,” Romanoff explained.
Furthermore, from 2021 to 2022, the team set up panels with state and local government officials, as well as public health experts to collaborate on fund distribution, and to maximize how much of the national settlement was allotted to Minnesota by getting cities and counties to sign on to it.
“Now we’re passing the torch to all the public health folks,” Maloney said. “When we started this work in 2016, it was a big issue … it’s still a huge problem … It’s just in time that we’re able to get this money and put it to good use now.”
The Minnesota Attorney General’s Office recently announced five new lawsuits against manufacturers and distributors, including Walmart, CVS and Walgreens, Romanoff said. He added that investigations are ongoing, too.
“The work is not done,” Romanoff said.
Maloney and Romanoff were part of a team that includes deputy attorneys general James Canaday and John Keller, Assistant Attorney General and former Legislative Director Laura Taken-Holtze, and former Director of Government Affairs Carly Melin.”
Read more about Minnesota Lawyer’s superb class of Attorneys of the Year for 2022 here.