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Robins Kaplan LLP Represents Oglala Sioux Tribe in Additional Suit Against the Opioid Industry

Sioux Falls, SD—March 19, 2018—National trial firm Robins Kaplan LLP® announced today that it has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Oglala Sioux Tribe against major manufacturers and distributors of opioids, alleging devastating public health effects on Tribal communities. The Tribe has sued 24 opioid industry defendants in the action, which seeks both damages and injunctive relief. This is the third related lawsuit filed by Robins Kaplan on behalf of American Indian Tribes this year.

“The opioid epidemic affects nearly every Tribal member in the state, and the impact on Tribes in the South Dakota region has been devastating,” said Brendan Johnson, former United States Attorney for South Dakota. “It is our hope that with these lawsuits, our firm can help bring justice to several Tribes in the Dakotas.”

The 104-page complaint filed in federal court accuses the defendants of allegedly marketing prescription opioids in a manner that fraudulently concealed and minimized their addiction risk, and failing to comply with federal prescription drug laws intended to prevent the diversion of prescription opioids and prevent their abuse. It seeks relief for the defendants’ alleged violation of federal RICO laws, deceptive trade practices, and fraudulent and negligent conduct.

“The Oglala Sioux Tribe is just one of several Tribal Nations that have come face-to-face with the unprecedented national opioid epidemic. Our goal at Robins Kaplan is to level the playing field for these Tribes and bring attention to this crisis,” added Tim Purdon, former United States Attorney for North Dakota.

On January 8, 2018, Robins Kaplan filed suit on behalf of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe, and the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate against opioid manufacturers and distributors in the United States District Court for the District of South Dakota, and on February 12, 2018, the firm filed suit on behalf of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota. Additional information on the firm’s previous lawsuits are available here and here.

Johnson and Purdon serve as co-chairs of Robins Kaplan’s American Indian Law and Policy GroupTara Sutton, chair of the firm’s Mass Tort Group and a member of its Executive Board, is also representing the plaintiffs.

Defendants in the case include pharmaceutical manufacturers Purdue Pharma L.P., Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., and Allergan PLC, and pharmaceutical distributors McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health Inc., and AmerisourceBergen Corp. The complaint against them was filed in the United States District Court for the District of South Dakota.