Ellen Relkin, co-chair of Weitz & Luxenberg’s Defective Drugs & Devices practice group, will speak on a panel about the opioid crisis at the upcoming annual meeting of the New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA). Ms. Relkin will share her expertise as one of the attorneys leading the nationwide litigation against major opioid drug makers and distributors. Hundreds of cases have been filed across the United States against pharmaceutical companies, distributors, and chain pharmacies related to their role in the opioid crisis. Ms. Relkin is a member of the Executive Committee for the consolidated multidistrict litigation (MDL), which is proceeding in the Northern District of Ohio.

The panel, “Inside the Opium (Legal) Wars,” will be held on May 16 at the NJSBA conference in Atlantic City. Her distinguished co-panelists include the New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Dr. Andrew Kolodny, who is co-director of Opioid Policy Research at Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management. NJSBA President-Elect John E. Keefe Jr. will moderate the panel.

“It is vital for the legal and medical communities to work with government officials as we fight for the victims, their devastated families, the emergency responders, and others who are bearing the burdens of the opioid crisis,” said Ms. Relkin. “I look forward to hearing the valuable insights of my co-panelists, and I thank the NJSBA for giving attention to this very important topic.”

Weitz & Luxenberg has already filed lawsuits on behalf of 39 municipalities and counties including the City of Detroit against major opioid manufacturers, distributors, and retailers. The firm anticipates filing additional cases on behalf of other municipalities and tribal councils.

The lawsuits allege that the pharmaceutical companies falsely marketed and recklessly distributed opioid medications and seek to recover the costs that the municipalities have spent and will spend in responding to the opioid crisis, as well as to make tangible changes to help stem the problem. The firm’s cases were consolidated as part of the nationwide MDL, which includes hundreds of lawsuits filed on behalf of local and state governments throughout the country.

During her tenure at Weitz & Luxenberg, Ms. Relkin has held leadership roles in several high-profile MDLs, including serving as co-lead counsel in In Re: DePuy Orthopaedics, ASR Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation in the Northern District of Ohio and sitting on the Executive Committees of In Re: Invokana Product Liability Litigation in the District of New Jersey and In Re: Stryker LFIT V40 Femoral Head Products Liability Litigation in the District of Massachusetts. She is certified as a Civil Trial Attorney by the Supreme Court of New Jersey, is an elected member of the American Law Institute, and is the President of the Roscoe Pound Civil Justice Institute.

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