The growing public health crisis of the opioid epidemic has claimed the lives of more than 450,000 Americans since 1999. Amid claims that the pharmaceutical industry used misleading tactics to downplay the known harms of prescription opioids, more than 2,000 plaintiffs have joined the largest civil trial in U.S. history: National Prescription Opiate Litigation (MDL 2804).
Aggregate litigation can provide an efficient method to resolve disputes involving multiple parties. And as society and technology continue to evolve, so do legal responses to mass harms. The RAND Institute for Civil Justice (ICJ) and the RAND Kenneth R. Feinberg Center for Catastrophic Risk Management and Compensation assembled a distinguished group of attorneys, judges, and scholars for a virtual symposium to discuss the opioid litigation and its effects on the future of mass litigation. Why is the opioid litigation different? What might these differences mean for the future? What further research is needed to address these new challenges?
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Conference proceeding series. RAND conference proceedings present a collection of papers delivered at a conference or a summary of the conference.
Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.
Anderson, James M., Anne Andrews, Sheila Birnbaum, Elizabeth J. Cabraser, Kenneth R. Feinberg, Rebecca Lee Haffajee, Eric Helland, Deborah R. Hensler, Rich Ives, Daniel B. Levin, Charlie Lifland, David Nachman, Robert Reville, Joseph F. Rice, William B. Rubenstein, and Christopher A. Seeger, Opioid Litigation: What's New, and What Does It Mean for Future Litigation?. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2021. https://www.rand.org/pubs/conf_proceedings/CFA1137-1.html.
Anderson, James M., Anne Andrews, Sheila Birnbaum, Elizabeth J. Cabraser, Kenneth R. Feinberg, Rebecca Lee Haffajee, Eric Helland, Deborah R. Hensler, Rich Ives, Daniel B. Levin, Charlie Lifland, David Nachman, Robert Reville, Joseph F. Rice, William B. Rubenstein, and Christopher A. Seeger, Opioid Litigation: What's New, and What Does It Mean for Future Litigation?, Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND Corporation, CF-A1137-1, 2021. As of September 10, 2021: https://www.rand.org/pubs/conf_proceedings/CFA1137-1.html