Jared Effler Et Al. v. Purdue Pharma L.P. Et Al.

Jared Effler Et Al. v. Purdue Pharma L.P. Et Al.

This appeal concerns the interpretation of the Drug Dealer Liability Act, Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-38-101, -116 (“DDLA”). A number of Tennessee district attorneys (“the District Attorney Plaintiffs”), as well as two minor children through their guardian ad litem (“Plaintiffs,” all together), sued certain drug manufacturers (“Manufacturer Defendants”) and others in the Circuit Court for Campbell County (“the Trial Court”) alleging the diversion of opioids.1 Manufacturer Defendants filed a motion to dismiss. The Trial Court, in granting the motion to dismiss, held that the DDLA does not apply to manufacturers who lawfully produce drugs and that Plaintiffs had failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Plaintiffs appeal, arguing that their complaint contained allegations sufficient to withstand the motion to dismiss. Manufacturer Defendants contend that the DDLA applies to “street dealers,” not regulated entities such as themselves. In addition, Manufacturer Defendants argue that the District Attorney Plaintiffs lack standing. We hold, first, that the DDLA allows district attorneys to pursue DDLA claims on behalf of the political subdivisions within their respective judicial districts. Thus, the District Attorney Plaintiffs have standing. We hold further that, taking as true Plaintiffs’ detailed allegations that Manufacturer Defendants knowingly participated in the diversion of opioids, Plaintiffs have stated claims upon which relief can be granted. We reverse the judgment of the Trial Court and remand for this case to proceed.

Authoring Judge: 
Judge D. Michael Swiney
Originating Judge: 
Judge John D. McAfee
Date Filed: 
Wednesday, September 11, 2019