Trending in Tort Law Part II: Courts Address the Growing Use of Public Nuisance in Mass Torts
Since prescription opioids were first introduced for pain treatment in the 1990s, the number of drug overdose deaths has quadrupled, and more than a half million Americans have died from an overdose involving an opioid. The CDC has labeled this an epidemic, and most agree that it is a public health crisis. But courts are divided over whether this crisis is legally a public nuisance. As appellate courts issue decisions and trials across the country reach verdicts, the contours of tort law are being reshaped and defined — specifically the applicability of public nuisance in product liability and mass torts cases.