Via Richard French Live RNN: Several counties including Westchester and Nassau are suing or planning to sue major drug companies in order to hold them liable for the opioid epidemic. Richard French speaks with “Law and Vengeance” author Mike Papantonio about representing some counties in that case.

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Richard French: The opioid case. Several counties in our area, including Westchester and Nassau, they’re suing or planning to sue the major drug companies. They want to hold those Big Pharmas liable for the opioid epidemic.

My next guest representing some counties in that drug case, Mike Papantonio, he’s a prominent nationally known attorney and syndicated radio talk show host as well. He’s also a author of a new book called Law and Vengeance. Well, I sat down with him recently to discuss some big cases, his unique insight into.

The Times editorial piece recently where they pointed out that sure we hear all the language about the war on addictive drugs here and how we can all cooperatively work together. Some of these Big Pharma companies obviously knew the products they were making were highly addictive. They knew about the tragedies unfolding in every single corner of this country and now possibly in the case of Purdue, for example, that we’re going to give them taxpayer dollars to come up with non-addictive drugs. It seems like we’re actually profiting the bad actors.

Mike Papantonio: Well, it’s worse than that. At full disclosure, I’m handling those cases for Kentucky, and Ohio, and West Virginia. I’m handling those cases for counties and cities who’ve lost billions of dollars because of the opioid crisis. But the real problem comes down to the fact the company not only knew about it, they built it into their business plan. They built what we call drug diversion into their business plan. You would have pill mills doing business on 3rd Street in some town called Somewhere America. Then you would have the distributor, the sales person from, say, McKesson or one of the other companies that drive by that pill mill everyday. They’re well aware of the addiction problem.

What’s so interesting about this, Richard, is under the law they have a duty not to only report that something is going horribly wrong in this community wherever it may be, but they have a duty to actually correct the problem. The way I’ll be trying this case is to say that they had direct notice. They clearly knew that the drug addiction was taking place. The geometric addiction was just growing leaps and bounds. But at the end of all this, we have to understand we look at these people different because they dress different, Richard. They wear Armani suits. They have Rolex watches. They drive around in Bentleys. That is nothing less than drug cartel. Until the American public can understand simply because somebody doesn’t look like a criminal, they don’t look like a street thug, they have an office on Wall Street, until we can get past that and understand that the criminal activity took place here. Unfortunately nobody has gone to prison.

My goal is I try these cases across the country will be obviously to be able to recover money for these counties that have lost billions of dollars but to also call enough attention to where we have a Department of Justice that has the courage to say, “Why do we treat this Armani suit character different than we treat a child out on the corner with a hoodie on who’s selling two ounces of marijuana so he can have something to eat the at the end of the day?” This division of how we have in our justice system, this division is killing democracy and the opioid crisis is a great example of it.

Richard French: Again, the book is called Law and Vengeance. Mike Papantonio, I really appreciate the time. Thank you so much.

Mike Papantonio: Well, thank you.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.