Picente Announces Potential Opioid Litigation

Oneida County hires law firms to investigate legal options

Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. announced today that the county has hired counsel to explore potential litigation in recovering the expenses incurred fighting the opioid epidemic.

Picente said the county has enlisted the Cherundolo Law Firm, PLLC; Brindisi, Murad, Brindisi & Pearlman, LLP and Robert F. Julian, PC to investigate its legal options and determine if pursuing litigation against pharmaceutical companies and other parties would be beneficial.

“The opioid crisis has hit Oneida County extremely hard,” Picente said. “We have spent millions of dollars to combat the problem through law enforcement, treatment and prevention, and if those efforts have been unfairly impacted by the improper practices of pharmaceutical companies and others, we owe it to the tax payers to leave no stone unturned in recovering any unjustified costs.”

Picente said he tasked the County Attorney’s Office with looking into the matter over a year ago, and after a diligent assessment and a request for proposal from outside counsel was completed, the county decided last month to move forward with pursuing its legal options.

According to the Onondaga County Medical Examiner’s Office — which handles the caseload for Oneida County — of the 166 drug/toxin-related deaths in Oneida County between 2013 and 2016, 56 were heroin-related, 26 were fentanyl-related, 24 were heroin and fentanyl-related and 30 were attributed to other opioids.