Paul J. Hanly Jr., a prime trial lawyer who had been central to the present nationwide litigation in opposition to pharmaceutical corporations and others in the provision chain for his or her position in the lethal opioid epidemic, died on Saturday at his house in Miami Beach. He was 70.
The trigger was anaplastic thyroid most cancers, a particularly uncommon and aggressive illness, mentioned Jayne Conroy, his longtime legislation associate.
Over his four-decade profession, Mr. Hanly, a class-action plaintiffs’ lawyer, litigated and managed quite a few advanced authorized instances, involving amongst different issues the funding of terrorists, stemming from the assaults of Sept. 11, 2001, and allegations of the sexual abuse of dozens of boys by a person who ran an orphanage and faculty in Haiti.
But nothing compares to the nationwide opioid instances which might be pending in federal courtroom in Cleveland on behalf of hundreds of municipalities and tribes in opposition to the producers and distributors of prescription opioid ache drugs. The federal opioid litigation is regarded by many as maybe essentially the most advanced in American authorized historical past — much more entangled and far-reaching than the epic authorized battles with the tobacco business.
The defendants — together with each hyperlink in the provision chain of opioid manufacturing, distributing and allotting — are accused of aggressively advertising painkillers whereas downplaying the dangers of dependancy and overdose. Their actions, Mr. Hanly has argued, contributed to the opioid epidemic that has raged throughout the nation for twenty years, killing a whole lot of hundreds of people that began abusing ache drugs like OxyContin and transitioned to avenue medicine like heroin and fentanyl.
“This has probably been the most complicated constellation of litigation that’s come to the federal court in my tenure,” Judge Dan A. Polster of the Northern District of Ohio, who’s overseeing the sprawling case, mentioned in a cellphone interview on Saturday. “I’ve been fortunate to have the best lawyers in the country on all sides, and Paul was one of them.”
“He was an excellent lawyer, a consummate professional,” the choose added. “He fought hard. He fought fairly. And that’s what you want from a lawyer, from an advocate.” He mentioned that Mr. Hanly had a management position “in helping to organize and make cohesive the plaintiffs’ side of the case.”
Mr. Hanly, of Simmons Hanly Conroy in New York, performed a number one position in the litigation as one in all three plaintiffs’ attorneys appointed by Judge Polster to deal with main points of the instances, together with negotiations. The others have been Joe Rice, of Motley Rice in South Carolina, and Paul T. Farrell Jr., of Farrell Law in West Virginia.
At the identical time, a number of opioid instances are continuing at the state stage. Mr. Hanly had additionally been getting ready for a bellwether case in opposition to producers and distributors that’s scheduled to go to trial subsequent month in Suffolk County, N.Y.
He had lengthy been at the forefront of efforts to carry drug corporations accountable. He introduced one of many first large lawsuits in opposition to Purdue Pharma in 2003 for failing to warn greater than 5,000 sufferers in regards to the addictive properties of OxyContin. His purchasers ultimately settled with Purdue for $75 million. It was one of many few cases in which a drug maker agreed to pay particular person sufferers who had accused it of soft-pedaling the danger of dependancy.
Mr. Hanly had a historical past of taking over advanced instances with huge numbers of plaintiffs. Shortly after the 2001 terrorist assaults, he represented a few of the households who had misplaced family members on the planes and in the World Trade Center. He additionally filed go well with to stop the sale of tanzanite, a uncooked stone used as a money different to fund terrorist actions. That lawsuit was expanded to incorporate overseas governments, banks and others that supported Al Qaeda. Portions of it stay pending.
Another of his essential instances was a 2013 landmark settlement of $12 million on behalf of 24 Haitian boys who mentioned that they had been sexually abused by Douglas Perlitz, who ran applications for underprivileged boys and was subsequently sentenced to 19 years in prison. Mr. Hanly mentioned the defendants, together with the Society of Jesus of New England, Fairfield University and others, had not correctly supervised Mr. (*70*). Mr. Hanly filed additional charges in 2015, bringing the entire variety of abused youths to greater than 100 between the late Nineties and 2010.
“Paul was a lawyer’s lawyer,” mentioned Ms. Conroy, his legislation associate. She mentioned he was famend for his exhaustive trial preparation, his inventive trial methods and his practically photographic reminiscence of the contents of paperwork.
He was additionally recognized for veering sartorially from the muted grays and blacks of most attorneys to extra jaunty apparel in vibrant yellows, blues and pinks. He favored bespoke styles that have been flashy but refined. His two-tone sneakers have been all handmade.
In a just lately revealed guide in regards to the opioid business, “Empire of Pain,” Patrick Radden Keefe described Mr. Hanly as trying “like a lawyer in a Dick Tracy cartoon” together with his daring colours and tailor-made shirts with stiff, contrasting collars. But none of this, Mr. Keefe made clear, diminished his aggressive edge.
“Paul was a man of few words and a commanding presence,” mentioned David Nachman, who just lately retired from the New York legal professional common’s workplace, the place he was the lead lawyer on the state’s opioid case and was working with Mr. Hanly to deliver the case to trial in Suffolk County.
“When he entered a room, everyone noticed,” Mr. Nachman mentioned by e-mail. “When he spoke, everyone listened, and when he smiled, you knew things would be OK.”
Paul James Hanly Jr. was born in Jersey City, N.J., on April 18, 1951. His father held numerous authorities posts, together with deputy warden of the Hudson County Penitentiary and hospital administrator. His mom, Catherine (Kenny) Hanly, was a homemaker.
His household was somewhat infamous in New Jersey; some members had been indicted on corruption fees and had served time in jail. These included his maternal grandfather, John V. Kenny, a former mayor of Jersey City and a strong Hudson County Democratic boss often known as “the pope of Jersey City,” who was jailed in the Nineteen Seventies after pleading responsible to fees of earnings tax evasion.
Mr. Hanly took a unique path. He went to Cornell, the place his roommate was Ed Marinaro, who went on to play skilled soccer and later turned an actor (greatest recognized for “Hill Street Blues”). Mr. Hanly, who performed soccer with him, graduated in 1972 with a significant in philosophy and obtained a scholar-athlete award because the Cornell varsity soccer senior who mixed the best tutorial common with excellent means.
He earned a grasp’s diploma in philosophy from Cambridge University in 1976 and a legislation diploma from Georgetown in 1979. He then clerked for Lawrence A. Whipple, a U.S. District Court choose in New Jersey.
Mr. Hanly’s marriage in the mid-Eighties to Joyce Roquemore ended in divorce. He is survived by two sons, Paul J. Hanly III and Burton J. Hanly; a daughter, Edith D. Hanly; a brother, John Okay. Hanly; and a sister, Margo Mullady.
He started his authorized profession as a nationwide trial counsel and settlement counsel to Turner & Newall, a British asbestos firm, one of many world’s largest, in its product-liability instances. The firm was bought by an American agency, Federal-Mogul, in 1998, after which it was overwhelmed with asbestos claims and filed for chapter in 2001.
Mr. Hanly and Ms. Conroy spent a lot of their time steeped in negotiations with plaintiffs’ attorneys. They quickly switched to representing plaintiffs themselves.
“We recognized over time that that was more important to us,” Ms. Conroy mentioned, “to make sure victims were compensated for what happened.”
Jan Hoffman contributed reporting.