Four years after a California appeals court upheld her landmark victory against the lead paint industry, Motley Rice’s Fidelma Fitzpatrick failed to persuade a California judge to hold manufacturers of opioid pharmaceuticals liable for creating a public nuisance.

In a tentative decision Monday, Orange County Superior Court Judge Peter Wilson found that the plaintiffs, which are three large California counties and the city of Oakland, failed to differentiate between legitimate uses of opioids, which are prescription painkillers, and the illegal activities that led to addictions and overdoses. Wilson noted the Food and Drug Administration and the California Legislature were aware of the potential addictive nature of opioids when approving them for use.

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