August 3, 2018: Suit Against Opioid Makers

Counties File Suit Against Opioid Makers, Distributors

In a 273-page lawsuit, several Missouri counties are suing opioid producers and distributors for negligence, fraud and creating a public nuisance.  See the lawsuit here.

The counties suing are: Jefferson County, Cape Girardeau County, Christian County, Crawford County, Greene County, Iron County, Jasper County, Stone County, Taney County Washington County, and the City of Joplin.

Among the defendants in the suit are companies all along the manufacture and distribution chain: Purdue Pharma, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson, Noramco, Endo Pharmaceuticals, Allergan, Watson Pharmaceuticals, Actavis, Mallinckrodt, Specgx LLC, McKesson, Cardinal Health, AmerisourceCebergen Drug, Express Scripts, Walgreens, CVS, Mylan Pharmaceuticals, DepoMed, INSYS Pharma, Gurpreet Padda, Interventional Center for Pain Management, Caremark Health, United Health Group, and Optum.

From the suit: “This Petition seeks damages on behalf of Plaintiffs and their residents for reimbursement of public costs expended fighting this opioid epidemic and a claim for future costs in continuing attempts to finance community efforts in stopping the problem repairing what harm has been done. The misbranding and overabundance of opioids has caused death, abuse, addiction, crime and social and familial destruction in each of these counties and city. Plaintiffs have paid for and will continue to pay the costs, including but not limited to, of: law enforcement, public safety, incarceration, medical care, costs of treatment, counseling and withdrawal, family protective services and autopsies. These public expenditures could have been avoided if not for the conduct of Defendants…”

The suit doesn’t detail the damages sought, only that they are greater than $25,000.  But considering hundreds of people in Missouri die every year from opioid addictions, the damages could be enormous.

 

SOS Certifies November IPs

The secretary of state’s office certified the initiatives which will appear on the November General Election ballot.  They are the CLEAN Missouri ethics/redistricting proposal; and increase in the minimum wage; and three medical marijuana measures.

There was chatter yesterday as people tried to game out how the three competing – and sometimes conflicting – MMJ proposals would be reconciled if all three win voter approval. And the consensus is that all three will pass as the issue has polled solidly.

Here are a few things to keep in mind…

First, get to know Article III, Section 51 of the Missouri constitution.  See it here.  The final sentence is key: When conflicting measures are approved at the same election the one receiving the largest affirmative vote shall prevail.   In other words, vote count is going to matter.

Second, there is some disagreement whether you simply throw out the two MMJ proposals with the least number of votes, and enact the one with the greatest vote total.  Or if you merge all the three.  And then, where there’s conflicting language between them, you go with the measure with the largest vote count.

Third, if you’re in a scenario where you’re reconciling various proposals, the argument was made to me yesterday (convincingly) that the word “measures” here puts all three on equal footing despite the fact that one is a statutory proposal; the other two are constitutional.  Normally, one would think that the constitutional provisions would take precedence over the statutory language.  However when trying to reconcile these three different medical marijuana laws, some will be arguing that there’s no such distinction in the constitution according to Article III, Section 51 (above).

Finally, one veteran surmised what this may all mean: the various campaigns may “go after each other.”  Vote count matters.  So you may see them raising money and trying to elevate their particular “brand” of MMJ in the voters eyes – or denigrate (raise doubts about) the others.

 

Primary Talk

Among the Senate primaries, there is a normal narrative in four of them: front-runner, can they hold on?  Or conversely challenger, can they surge?  For example, Bill White should win Senate 32 assuming his lead doesn’t evaporate in the final onslaught of negative ads.  Same in Senate 34 where Tony Luetkemeyer is in the lead, as well as Senate 16 with Justin Brown, though that lead seems more tentative.

Senate 18 however has turned into a chaotic cluster.  Cindy O’Laughlin is still assumed to be in the lead, but there has been so much late money flying in all directions, it’s really anybody’s game at this point.  Craig Redmon has long been seen as O’Laughlin’s chief rival; Nate Walker has benefitted from a coordinated final push; and Lindell Shumake is the dark horse emerging in these final days with a suddenly clear path.  While the other three have been hitting each other, no one has gone after Shumake.  If voters are turned off by the mud-slinging, he offers a safe harbor.  And don’t forget, he represents Hannibal, one of the population centers of the district.  It could happen….

 

From a tipster: Mark Mantovani is hosting his Tuesday night election watch at the Frontenac Hilton in St. Louis County. As political insiders know, this is local Republicans’ go-to venue. The Frontenac Hilton has served as the GOP statewides’ election night headquarters. In March, President Donald Trump attended a fundraiser there for US Senate candidate Josh Hawley. This gives labor another reason to be energized to re-nominate Steve Stenger in Tuesday’s Democratic primary: The Frontenac Hilton is NON-union. Stenger’s election night gathering is farther south at Laborers Local 110, 4532 South Lindbergh in Sunset Hills.”

 

New IE Filings

Senate 16

Team Justin - $8,015 supporting Brown.

Team Justin - $4,052 opposing Franklin.

Team Justin - $4,052 opposing Frederick.

Senate 18

MOChamber PAC - $5,000 opposing Walker.

Missouri Federation for Children PAC - $7,777 supporting O’Laughlin.

Missouri Federation for Children PAC - $3,888 opposing Redmon.

Missouri Federation for Children PAC - $3,888 opposing Walker.

Senate 34

Missouri Senate Conservatives Fund - $8,041 opposing Roberts.

Missouri Senate Conservatives Fund - $35,571 opposing Roberts.

Missouri Senate Conservatives Fund - $12,059 supporting Luetkemeyer.

 

Bits

NYTimes reports with electric scooters hitting the cities, docs are seeing more head injuries (and scrapped knees).  See it here.

 

July 2018 state revenues were down about 5% from July 2017’s numbers.

 

Lobbyists Registrations

Joshua Carr deleted Missouri Division Of Professional Registration.

 

$5K+ Contributions

Committee for a Healthy Community - $6,000 from American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

Missourians for Freedom to Work - $25,000 from ABC Free Enterprise Alliance.

Missouri Republican Leadership PAC - $10,000 from Drury Development Corporation.

Friends of Kyle Dubbert for County Clerk - $8,500 from Kyle Dubbert.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to Bev Randles, Dan Engemann, and Larry Wilson.

 

MOScout News

I’m making a change to the MOScout website on Saturday which will hopefully alleviate the morning crunch that results in slow load times and errors messages. But like all good things, this is something we will have to do together.   Look for a VERY IMPORTANT EMAIL on Saturday that will allow you uninterrupted access.