City of Baltimore Strikes $45 Million Deal with Allergan to Resolve Ongoing Opioid Litigation

Mayor Brandon Scott and the City of Baltimore have reached a historic $45 million settlement with Allergan Finance, LLC to resolve the City’s claims against Allergan in ongoing litigation against the opioid distributors and manufacturers that fueled the worst opioid epidemic in the nation. Allergan will pay the entire $45 million settlement amount within 30 days.

The City’s deal with Allergan is an unprecedented recovery in the nationwide opioid litigation and confirms that the City was prudent in opting out of the global settlements that opioid defendants reached with nearly every other state, county, and city in America over the past few years. Allergan’s proposed global settlement would have allotted the City only about $7 million spread over 7 years. The current settlement provides over 6 times that amount in an immediate lump sum payment. The City’s settlement is also larger than the settlements Allergan reached with many states, including the State of Maryland, which earlier this year announced a $38 million settlement with Allergan, spread over 7 years.[1]

Since taking office in 2020, Mayor Brandon Scott has insisted that he would seek justice for those harmed by the opioid epidemic by holding accountable distributors and manufacturers who put their profits over the health and safety of the people of Baltimore. He promised not to sell the City short by settling with opioid defendants for pennies on the dollar, and today’s announcement proves the wisdom of his decision.  Mayor Scott stated, “We are fully aware of the devastating toll that the actions of these defendants have taken on our City, and we have shown our commitment to ensuring that they pay their fair share to tackle the harms they have left in the wake of their greed.”  City Solicitor Ebony M. Thompson concurred, saying, “Our legal team is confident in the value of our case, and we will not be settling for anything that does not take into account the significant resources needed to overcome the widespread effects of the defendants’ actions.”

This settlement demonstrates the overwhelming strength of the case that the City, along with outside counsel at Susman Godfrey, has developed against the distributors and manufacturers that targeted hundreds of millions of highly addictive opioid pills at Baltimore.

Allergan’s two opioid drugs, Kadian and Norco, made up less than half a percent of the opioids sent to Baltimore pharmacies. The defendants remaining in the City’s lawsuit were responsible for over 80% of the opioids targeted at Baltimore pharmacies, meaning this settlement with Allergan confirms the multi-billion-dollar value of the City’s entire case.

Mayor Scott and his team are committed to doing everything in their power to address the opioid epidemic in Baltimore and to using the resources they recover in litigation to help fight the ongoing epidemic. In its settlement agreement with Allergan, the City has committed to using at least $5 million of the recovery for the Peer Navigator Program and $5 million of the recovery for Charm City Care Connection, both programs that have done tremendous work fighting the opioid epidemic in Baltimore and that will be able to do even more with these resources.

In addition to these allocations, Mayor Scott is announcing the creation of a board that will oversee how opioid settlement money is spent.  “We are committed to ensuring that every penny of this and any other amount recovered is put to its most effective and best use to combat the opioid epidemic in Baltimore City at all levels.”  Further information about the board will be forthcoming.

“We are proud to partner with Mayor Scott and the City of Baltimore to fight this deadly epidemic and bring justice to everyone affected by it,” said Susman Godfrey Partner Bill Carmody, who is leading the outside legal team on this matter. He is joined by Partners Seth Ard, Sy Polky, Adam Carlis, Cory Buland, David Peterson, Edgar Sargent, Geng Chen, Rocco Magni, Michael Kelso, and Krisina Zuñiga, Associates Max Straus, Betsy Aronson, Alicia Lai, and Of Counsel Tom Boardman.  Sara Gross and Thomas Webb of the Baltimore City Department of Law also represent the City in this case.

Litigation proceeds against defendants Johnson & Johnson, McKesson, Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen, Walgreens, CVS, Teva, and former Insys CEO John Kapoor. The case is set for trial on September 16.

The case is Mayor & City Council of Baltimore v. Purdue Pharma L.P., et el., 24-C-18-000515 in the Circuit Court of Maryland for Baltimore City