ROCKFORD — Winnebago County, the Winnebago County State’s Attorney and the City of Rockford announce that the County and City have filed lawsuits in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against a number of manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioids.
In January, Winnebago County, the City of Rockford, and State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato announced their intent to file suit against pharmaceutical companies and distributors to hold them accountable for the opioid addiction crisis in Rockford and Winnebago County. According to a news release, with the approval of the County Board and City Council, State’s Attorney Bruscato and the City of Rockford filed suit against more than 20 defendants this week.
City and county officials maintain that opioid manufacturers and distributors chose to abuse their position by continuing to ship massive quantities of drugs to local pharmacies without performing or reporting any checks.
The lawsuits also allege that wholesale distributors and manufacturers have worked cooperatively to maximize the number of drugs flowing into communities rather than implementing effective controls.
According to the release, “the end result of massive quantities of opioids flooding into communities has led to an epidemic of addiction to both prescription opioids and controlled substances such as heroin. The City of Rockford and County of Winnebago have been forced to use taxpayer funds to deal with the fallout of this epidemic.”
The County and City are represented by former judge Ann Callis, now a partner at Goldenberg Heller & Antognoli, P.C., a law firm based in Edwardsville.
The City and the County will not pay for legal representation services. Legal fees will be paid from any recovery from the defendants.