09/14/2020 - US Expert Witness News: Expert Witness Reports Crucial in New Opioid Trial Date

BRISTOL, Tennessee. A primary lawsuit seeking to hold drug manufacturers accountable
for the is now reset for a September trial, set out by a recent court order.

An extensive case of reports compiled by expert witnesses for the now postponed May
Sullivan Baby Doe trial will be released. This was due to an effort by regional district attorneys general (DAGs) to allow the documents to go public.

The reports, previously stored under seal, outline a $2.4 billion plan by DAGs to help battle the adverse and extensive effects of East Tennessee’s opioid crisis. The plan and its estimated cost was developed under the stewardship of multiple expert witnesses, including Scott Hemphill, J.D., Ph.D., who hails from Johnson City, Tennessee, and now serves as the Moses H. Grossman Professor of Law at New York University’s School of Law.

The “Sullivan Baby Doe” case was at first set to go before a jury in Bristol, Tennessee on August 17th, but the start date was postponed to Sept. 21st due to a medical condition affecting an employee of the court.

The new August date was the result of a prior postponement from a May trial date after the coronavirus pandemic caused a temporary suspension of jury trials.

A group of Northeast Tennessee district attorneys general (DAGs) is bringing the lawsuit,
which argues that manufacturers bombareded the geographical region with drugs that the companies knew would be diverted for illegal misuse.

The suit is named after an infant born in Sullivan County with neonatal abstinence syndrome, which affects newborns exposed to drugs in a mother’s womb before birth.

DAGs from nine counties in the region, including Barry Staubus in Sullivan County, brought
the suit in 2017 under the state’s Drug Dealer Liability Act (DDLA), a ruling allowing for
the recovery of damages caused by illegal drug use.

“The amount we are seeking from these opioid producers and distributors is only a fraction of what we have lost in dealing with the problems they created,” says Barry Staubus, district attorney general for Tennessee’s Second Judicial District.