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OxyContin Lawsuits in Virginia


Opioid abuse has become an epidemic in the United States. In 2016, more than 63,600 lives were lost to overdoses of the drug. It was the deadliest year of the epidemic to date. According to the Department of Health & Human Services, 12.5 million people misuse prescription opioids. Concerns manufacturers understated the potency of the drug have led to lawsuits related to OxyContin and other opiates.

Big pharma is often accused of making misleading claims about its drugs and opiates are no exception. In recent years, drug companies inflated how effective delayed-release medications like OxyContin were while downplaying their addictive qualities.

The opiate epidemic has led to untold misery, deaths and serious injuries in Virginia and elsewhere. As well as individual patients, local government across the country are filing lawsuits against the drug manufacturers because vital resources were used to deal with the problem.

OxyContin lawsuits and those against the makers of other opiates claim the pharmaceutical industry failed to adequately investigate suspect orders of prescription opiates and ignored the serious risks in favor of profit. Local governments were left picking up the pieces.

What Are Opioid Drugs?

Opioids are a class of powerful painkillers. They include the illegal drug heroin, as well as legally prescribed drugs. They include:

  • oxycodone (OxyContin)
  • hydrocodone (Vicodin)
  • fentanyl
  • codeine
  • morphine

 

How Do Opiates Work?

Drugs like OxyContin interact with the opioid receptors in the body’s nerve cells and brain to control pain. Opiates are commonly prescribed after surgery or injury. They are also given to patients with serious health conditions like cancer.

A short course of opioids is usually safe when prescribed by a doctor. However, these drugs are commonly misused and patients can become addicted to the feeling of euphoria they receive. In recent years, some doctors have overprescribed opiates. Using drugs like OxyContin regularly can lead to dependence. Some users suffer withdrawal symptoms when attempting to stop taking these drugs.

Despite an accepted awareness about the powerful nature of opiates, these drugs have become more widely used in recent years, fueling the epidemic.

America has seen a marked increase in the common acceptance and use of powerful painkillers including OxyContin for the treatment of other forms of chronic, non-cancer-related pain, such as back pain.

The wider use of opiates occurred in a vacuum of evidence about whether they are effective in the long term.

Side Effects of OxyContin and Other Opiates

Opioids have numerous serious side effects that can ruin the lives of users. They include:

  • Sickness and vomiting
  • Sensitivity to pain
  • Low testosterone
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Opioid abuse and addiction
  • Death

 

Opioid Manufacturers Face Government Action

In March 2018, President Donald Trump urged federal prosecutors to pursue “major litigation” against the drug companies he accused of playing a role in creating a national epidemic of opioid abuse.

The president pledged a national opioids strategy, expanding on the comments of Attorney General Jeff Sessions who pledged to hold accountable drug companies that the nation billions in taxpayer dollars.

Drug manufacturers facing scrutiny include Janssen, Purdue, Endo Pharmaceuticals, Teva and Insys. These companies faced scrutiny and often lawsuits from state and local governments seeking compensation.

The plaintiffs claim the drug companies used dubious and disingenuous marketing strategies.

In 2007, Purdue Pharma, its president, top attorney and former chief medical officer were ordered to pay $634.5 million in fines for making claims the drug was less addictive and abused less than other pain medications, 

Other measures taken by the Trump administration over opioids include a crackdown on the importation of fentanyl and an increased focus on opioid distribution and dealer networks across the United States and overseas.

Cities File Lawsuits Against Opioid Manufacturers

In January 2018, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city filed a lawsuit against the manufacturers and distributors of opioid prescription drugs.

In the same month, Franklin County in Ohio – one of the states most seriously hit by the opioid epidemic – hired lawyers to file a suit against the drug companies.

In 2016, former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announced State Health Commissioner Marissa J. Levine, declared the Virginia opioid addiction crisis a Public Health Emergency. He said:

“Too many families across Virginia and the nation are dealing with heartbreak and loss as a result of prescription opioid and heroin abuse epidemic. We cannot stand by while these drugs harm our communities and our economy. That is why I support Dr. Levine’s decision to declare a public health emergency, to heighten awareness of this issue, provide a framework for further actions to fight it and to save Virginians’ lives.”

Contact an OxyContin Lawyer in Virginia

At the Smith Law Center, our attorneys have a long track record of taking on and winning big cases related to a wide range of dangerous drugs.  Call us at (757) 244-7000.

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If you or a relative had a severe reaction to military housing mold, it might be time to talk with a toxic mold lawyer. Mold is everywhere, and can be dangerous. Researchers have linked mold to serious respiratory illnesses in some individuals.

Smith Law Center may be able to help if a property owner failed to keep you safe from mold in your military housing. We are one of Virginia’s oldest and most successful firms. We know how to hold negligent property owners responsible, especially when the military is involved.

Call us at (757) 244-700 or contact us online to set up a free consultation. There’s no fee for learning more about Virginia mold laws, your rights, and your legal options.

Mold in Military Housing

Black mold in military housing became widely known when Reuters published an investigation in 2018. Since then, the Department of Defense and the housing providers were supposed to take steps to improve the situation.

Unfortunately, a 2020 audit by the DoD Office of Inspector General found many issues, including the need for mold remediation, still persist.

Monetary Awards in Military Housing Toxic Mold Cases

If the property owner lets toxic mold run wild and continue to cause you harm, talk with our toxic mold attorneys about filing a lawsuit.

You may receive financial compensation for:

Service members and their families do not receive different types of damages than civilians. These are civil lawsuits in traditional courts of law.

Military Housing Mold Toxicity Symptoms

The Institute of Medicine discovered there was evidence connecting exposure to indoor mold with:

  • Upper respiratory tract symptoms;
  • Coughing;
  • Wheezing;
  • Asthma symptoms in individuals with asthma; and
  • Hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals with weak immune systems.

There is also limited evidence that mold causes respiratory illnesses in healthy children or causes people to develop asthma.

Understanding Exposure to Toxic Mold in Military Housing

The topic of toxic mold is complicated. This Is in part because the term “toxic mold” isn’t accurate. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains mold isn’t toxic or poisonous. However, some molds are toxigenic, which means they produce toxins called mycotoxins.

Mold is common in military housing because it’ll grow anywhere there’s moisture. That includes on and inside walls, carpet, upholstery, wallpaper, and heating and air conditioning systems. This is especially pronounced in humid conditions such as those present in Virginia.

Some people have no difficulties around mold, even large infestations in their homes. Other individuals are sensitive to molds, including those that produce mycotoxins. Someone can have a severe reaction when exposed to a large amount of mold indoors.

People may be more likely to experience mold toxicity symptoms if they have:

  • Allergies,
  • An underlying lung disease,
  • Immune suppression,
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder,
  • Asthma, or
  • Another chronic respiratory disease.

Common Types of Military Housing Mold

When you’re trying to learn more from the CDC and other resources, you’ll see the word “fungus” a lot. Mold is a type of fungus, which is something that exists all around us. Fungi are living organisms different from animals, plants, and bacteria. There are over 200,000 types of fungi and over 100,000 types of molds.

If you discovered mold in your military housing, it could be Cladosporium, Penicillium, Stachybotrys chartarum, Aspergillus, or many other types. Stachybotrys is what everyone knows as black mold. Aspergillus is a common indoor fungus, which releases mycotoxins and can cause illness. Your symptoms may resemble common allergy or asthma symptoms.

Who is Liable for Military Housing Mold?

Since 1996, most military housing has come under the management of private companies:

  • Belfour Beatty Communities: Fort Eustis and Fort Story/li>
  • Lincoln Military Housing: Dahlgren, Little Creek, Naval Station Norfolk, Northwest Annex, Oceana, Portsmouth, Quantico, and Yorktown/li>
  • Hunt Military Communities: Fort Lee and Langley AFB

Outside of Virginia, Lendlease and Corvias Military Living are two more housing providers. Together, these five companies formed the Military Housing Association.

Military families living in on-base housing must take their complaints to their private management company — not the military. The company is responsible for providing habitable conditions and making repairs, including mold remediation.

If you’re unsure about your rights, review your state law and local ordinances about mold. In general, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to provide a habitable unit, which means it has to be safe to live in. A unit isn’t safe if it’s causing a tenant health issues due to mold.

The Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act requires landlords to disclose if there’s mold in the written report of the move-in inspection. If a tenant discovers visible mold in the unit, then the Act requires the landlord to remove the mold and relocate the tenant until it’s gone at no additional cost to the tenant.

Unfortunately, many families find their housing providers aren’t receptive to complaints. Attorney Stephen M. Smith has handled many mold lawsuits against military housing providers who fail to abide by their lease terms and the law when it comes to mold remediation and other hazards.

Other Hazards in Military Housing

Many service members and their families deal with uncomfortable, if not hazardous, conditions in privatized military housing, including:

Lead Paint: Lead-based paint can cause headaches, nausea, fatigue, irritability, behavioral problems, learning disabilities, seizures, organ damage, and in extreme cases, death.

Asbestos: Exposure to asbestos harms a person’s lungs, and can lead to lung fibrosis (scarring), lung cancer, and mesothelioma.

Radon: Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. It naturally forms underground, however cracks and gaps in buildings lead to over-exposure indoors.

Poor Water Quality: Dozens of military sites have water with detectable levels of harmful chemicals.

Other issues involve rodent or insect infestations, pesticides, and faulty electrical wiring.

What Happens When a Lot of People Get Sick?

Sometimes mold exposure impacts a single individual or family. However, when the mold spreads throughout military housing, it can impact hundreds or thousands of people.

Occasionally, a large enough group of people are injured to allow for a class action or mass tort lawsuit. A class action lawsuit is one where a class representative acts as the plaintiff on behalf of the group of hurt individuals. Not every victim participates in the lawsuit. There are rules about when a group is big and similar enough to create a class action.

Mass tort lawsuits are different. When there are fewer plaintiffs who have their own set of circumstances, each person files a lawsuit. For efficiency’s sake, one or a couple of law firms may represent most plaintiffs, and the lawsuits are consolidated in a federal court.

Call the Military Housing Mold Lawyers at Smith Law Center for Help Right Away

Mold cases come about in a few ways. You or a loved one may start getting sick, and after weeks or months of struggling to find answers, you finally realize your military housing has a mold infestation. In other cases, you struggle with visible mold and then become ill.

Once you connect the illness with the mold, it’s time to talk with a toxic mold lawyer. Reaching out to an attorney early helps you build a strong compensation claim. We know how to collect evidence, identify who is liable, and craft a successful argument for a settlement or court award.

Attorney Stephen M. Smith has decades of experience handling injury claims and has been internationally recognized for his work. He has litigated cases involving catastrophic injuries and complex legal and scientific issues. In 2019, he was inducted into the Virginia Lawyers Hall of Fame.

You’re in good hands when you come to Smith Law Center for help. Reach out online or call (757) 244-7000 to schedule your 100% free consultation.

Military Housing Mold Lawsuits: FAQs

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We are one of Virginia’s largest and most successful law firms.

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Use the simple form below to send a message directly to our lawyers. We will respond within 1 hour or less during business hours.
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