With America facing the worst drug crisis in its history, BatesCarey LLP founded the nation’s first Opioid Coverage Task Force to guide its insurance clients through the corporate liabilities and exposures posed by these developing risks.  Our team actively monitors every opioid lawsuit against pharmaceutical manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and healthcare professionals who have already seen their industry saddled with hundreds of millions of dollars in defense and settlement costs, with estimates that this is only the iceberg’s tip. 

The BatesCarey LLP Opioid Coverage Task Force is involved in not only assisting insurers in monitoring the novel and evolving liability theories faced by their own insureds, but our team is deeply engaged in helping insurers determine the extent to which the exposures from the opioid litigation may be covered by insurance.  Balancing the interests of the insureds in maintaining the backing and support of their insurers, while protecting the policy intent and wording of the policies at issue, is the line we often find ourselves walking. 

The opioid litigation facing the insurance industry is destined to demand new approaches to those tried and true coverage issues that our team has litigated for decades.  For example, are the costs of resolving these suits in the nature of compensatory damages or fines and penalties?  Can a payment to a governmental agency for public nuisance constitute a covered payment “because of bodily injury”?  How many occurrences are at issue in a suit involving such a mass tort, and does the answer change when the victims themselves may have participated in criminal acts?  To the extent our insurance clients seek to impose new wordings to address these issues, how will that impact the perceived intent of prior policies that lack this clarification? 

As these and other issues evolve through the insurance and reinsurance market, the BatesCarey LLP Opioid Coverage Task Force is there to provide advocacy, resources and counsel to our clients. Scroll down for a collection of articles addressing these issues from our team and other industry leaders.



"Insurance for Public Nuisance: Masters Pharma gets it Rite," International Association of Claims Professionals, Declarations Magazine (October 2022).



"Del. High Court Gets It Right With Opioid Nuisance Ruling," Law360 Insurance, Expert Analysis (January 11, 2022).


"Insurance Ruling Clarifies Excess Coverage for Opioid Suits," Law360 (May 26, 2021)


"Courts Shouldn't Consider Bodily Injury Claims in Opioid Suits," Law360 (October 28, 2020)


Doctor’s Criminal Plea Vitiates Malpractice Coverage for Related Wrongful Death Suit Arising Out of Over-Prescription of Opioids


"Liability Insurance Outlook For Opioid Public Nuisance Claims," Law 360 Insurance, Expert Analysis (April 22, 2020)


"Can America’s Opioid Epidemic Squeeze into Tort or Insurance Law?" For the Defense (December 2019) 


Society of Actuaries Estimates Costs of Non-Medical Opioid Use from 2015-2019


Attorneys General Unveil Proposed $48B “Global” Settlement of Government Opioid Claims


“What does the $572 million Oklahoma opioid judgment mean for other opioid defendants and insurers?” Advisen Front Page News (September 3, 2019)


"How Opioid ‘Negotiating Class’ Would Affect Civil Claims," Law360 (July 1, 2019)


"Purdue Attacks Charges That Opioid Marketing Caused Overdoses," Bloomberg Law (March 8, 2019) – subscription required


"What Conn. Opioid Ruling Means for Liability Insurers," Law360 Insurance, Expert Analysis (January 15, 2019)


"Outside the Courts: As Opioid Legal Actions Unfold, Solutions to this Societal Problem May Lie Elsewhere," CLM Magazine (October 2018)



"Opioids, Justice & Mercy: Courts are on the Front Lines of a Lethal Crisis," ABA Journal (June 2018)



Hundreds Charged in Opioid National Fraud Takedown (June 28, 2018)



BatesCarey In The News: London market braces for coverage impact of opioids, The Insurance Insider (May 1, 2018)



"Opioid Solutions: Insurance, Legislation Or Litigation?", Law360 (March 19, 2018)



Settlement Aspirations Enter the Opioid MDL, Law360 (January 10, 2018)


MDL Hearing Signals a New Phase For Opioid Suits, Law360 (December 1, 2017) This byline was the 8th most-read article across all of Law360’s coverage in 2017.



"California Appellate Ruling Against Opioid Coverage Sign of Things to Come?", Law360 (November 8, 2017) 



"Evolution of a Crisis: Opioid Claims Pick Up Speed," Law360 (October 16, 2017)


“America On Opioids,” CLM Magazine cover story (August 2017) 


“The Opioid Epidemic: As the Pharmaceutical Industry Is Targeted, Will It Be Covered by Insurance?" Mealey's Emerging Insurance Disputes (July 6, 2017) 


“Senate Bill May Force Rise in Suits for Opioid Funding,” Law360 Insurance, Expert Analysis (June 27, 2017)



"The Evolution of Opioid Suits And Insurance Coverage," Law360 Insurance, Expert Analysis (June 19, 2017)

For questions, comments, or a presentation to your claims team regarding these developing issues, please contact Adam H. Fleischer, R. Patrick Bedell, or Kevin F. Harris.