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In The News: Town of Fort Gay Files Suit against Manufacturers and Distributors of Opioids

Fort Gay, West Virginia. April 23, 2018- In the heart of West Virginia, which has become “ground zero” in the nation’s opioid crisis, the Town of Fort Gay has filed a lawsuit against the manufacturers and distributors of opioids responsible for flooding the market with pills spawning a nationwide crisis. The suit was filed to hold these out-of-state entities accountable for providing false and misleading information to doctors and patients about the safety and efficacy of prescription opioids over approximately the last 20 years and for ignoring federal rules requiring reporting of opioid distribution numbers.

No state in the nation has been hit harder by this crisis than West Virginia. The Town of Fort Gay joins other municipalities, counties and states across the country holding opioid distributors and manufacturers liable for the harms they have inflicted on its community and the financial burden this epidemic has caused.

Joetta Hatfield, Mayor of the Town of Fort Gay, stated that “Our small Town has been overwhelmed and devastated by this drug epidemic. Our community has been plagued with overdoses, increased crime, and even death as a result of this problem. It is deeply discouraging to both out residents and businesses, and people are hesitant to move into our community. We would live to be a part of the solution to these problems, instead of the victim."

The lawsuit seeks damages to remedy the impact of the opioid crisis on the Town of Fort Gay. The town has suffered significant damages. For example, the town’s police, fire, and emergency service workers responding to opioid related health crisis’s including overdose and pickup and disposal of used needles routinely.

Opioid-related crimes have soared. Prior to the influx of opioid pills to the area, opioids were rarely seized by the police department. Today, the Police Department routinely finds large amounts of pills and heroin in drug busts, and has had to devote many resources to the police force to combat this influx of drug activity.

The suit is styled The Town of Fort Gay, West Virginia v. Rite Aid of Maryland, Inc. et al, Civil Action No. 3:18-cv-00280, and has been filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia at Charleston, WV. The Town of Fort Gay is represented in the suit by Rusty Webb, The Webb Law Centre, PLLC, of Charleston, WV; and John Hurst, of Motley Rice LLC, of Charleston, SC.

Rusty Webb is a personal injury and class action lawyer with 30 years of experience helping clients throughout West Virginia.

For additional information you may contact Mayor, Joetta Hatfield at 304-648-8177 or Rusty Webb at The Webb Law Firm, PLLC, 716 Lee Street, East, Charleston, West Virginia 25301; by e-mail at; by telephone 304-344-WEBB (9322).

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