The landmark New York State opioid trial reached its conclusion on Dec. 30, 2021 after the jury found drugmaker Teva Pharmaceuticals and distributor Anda Inc. liable for helping to fuel the nation’s two-decade-long opioid crisis. The state jury spent nine days in deliberation.

The sprawling trial, which lasted more than half a year and originally included more than 30 companies as defendants, was the longest in the history of the New York Supreme Court, and the first opioid case in the nation to be heard before a state jury. 

Speaking to the length of the trial, New York State Supreme Court Justice Jerry Garguilo referred to it as “an ultramarathon,” stating, “the trial itself has touched four seasons. We started in the spring. We went to the summer, we went to the fall, and of course now we’re into the winter.”

The total amount Teva and its subsidiaries will pay to New York State and its two hardest-hit communities — Nassau and Suffolk Counties — will be determined later in 2022. A hearing to determine the amount of compensation has yet to be set.

Simmons Hanly Conroy Shareholder Jayne Conroy, who represented Suffolk County in the trial, made national headlines, referring to the verdict as a “massive victory” for the families and communities torn apart as a result of the drug epidemic. 

“Manufacturer Teva and distributor Anda cannot break the law for profit and cause deadly harm to our communities.” Conroy said to reporters in a virtual news conference. “After months of testimony and evidence, we have proven to a jury that both Teva and Anda have significantly contributed to this tragic epidemic.”

Discussing the devastation of the opioid crisis, Conroy stated, “The numbers are staggering, what it has cost our communities and what it will continue to cost our communities in New York into the future.”

“Hopefully,” Conroy continued, “we can begin to heal.”

The funds recovered from the trial will be used to create community outreach programs to help mitigate the effects of the opioid crisis as well as support the development of education, addiction, and recovery services across the state. Conroy noted the funds are necessary “to have effective emergency medical services for overdose victims, to have narcan available to everyone, to have the ability for individuals to enter into rehabilitation to deal with addiction.”

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