Paul J. Hanly Jr., a high trial lawyer who had been central to the present nationwide litigation towards pharmaceutical firms and others within the provide chain for his or her function within the lethal opioid epidemic, died on Saturday at his dwelling in Miami Seaside. He was 70.
The trigger was anaplastic thyroid most cancers, an especially uncommon and aggressive illness, stated Jayne Conroy, his longtime regulation 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.
However nothing compares to the nationwide instances which can be pending in federal court docket in Cleveland on behalf of hundreds of municipalities and tribes towards 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 within the provide chain of opioid manufacturing, distributing and dishing out — are accused of aggressively advertising and marketing painkillers whereas downplaying the dangers of habit and overdose. Their actions, Mr. Hanly has argued, contributed to the opioid epidemic that has raged throughout the nation for 20 years, killing lots of of hundreds of people that began abusing ache drugs like OxyContin and transitioned to avenue medicine like heroin and fentanyl.
“This has in all probability been essentially the most sophisticated constellation of litigation that’s come to the federal court docket in my tenure,” Choose Dan A. Polster of the Northern District of Ohio, who’s overseeing the sprawling case, stated in a cellphone interview on Saturday. “I’ve been lucky to have the perfect attorneys within the nation on all sides, and Paul was considered one of them.”
“He was a superb lawyer, a consummate skilled,” the decide added. “He fought onerous. He fought pretty. And that’s what you need from a lawyer, from an advocate.” He stated that Mr. Hanly had a management function “in serving to to arrange and make cohesive the plaintiffs’ aspect of the case.”
Mr. Hanly, of Simmons Hanly Conroy in New York, performed a number one function within the litigation as considered one of three plaintiffs’ attorneys appointed by Choose Polster to deal with main features of the instances, together with negotiations. The others had been Joe Rice, of Motley Rice in South Carolina, and Paul T. Farrell Jr., of Farrell Regulation in West Virginia.
On the identical time, a number of opioid instances are continuing on the state degree. Mr. Hanly had additionally been getting ready for a bellwether case towards producers and distributors that’s scheduled to go to trial subsequent month in Suffolk County, N.Y.
He had lengthy been on the forefront of efforts to carry drug firms accountable. He introduced one of many first large lawsuits towards 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 situations by which a drug maker agreed to pay particular person sufferers who had accused it of soft-pedaling the chance of habit.
Mr. Hanly had a historical past of taking up advanced instances with huge numbers of plaintiffs. Shortly after the 2001 terrorist assaults, he represented among the households who had misplaced family members on the planes and within the World Commerce Heart. He additionally filed swimsuit 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. Parts of it stay pending.
One other of his essential instances was a 2013 landmark settlement of $12 million on behalf of 24 Haitian boys who stated they’d been sexually abused by Douglas Perlitz, who ran packages for underprivileged boys and was subsequently sentenced to 19 years in prison. Mr. Hanly stated the defendants, together with the Society of Jesus of New England, Fairfield College and others, had not correctly supervised Mr. Perliitz. Mr. Hanly filed additional charges in 2015, bringing the overall variety of youths stated to have been abused to greater than 100 between the late Nineteen Nineties and 2010.
“Paul was a lawyer’s lawyer,” stated Ms. Conroy, his regulation associate. She stated he was famend for his exhaustive trial preparation, his artistic trial methods and his almost photographic reminiscence of the contents of paperwork.
He was additionally identified 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 had been flashy but subtle. His two-tone footwear had been all handmade.
In a lately printed ebook in regards to the opioid business, “Empire of Ache,” Patrick Radden Keefe described Mr. Hanly as wanting “like a lawyer in a Dick Tracy cartoon” along with his daring colours and tailor-made shirts with stiff, contrasting collars. However none of this, Mr. Keefe made clear, diminished his aggressive edge.
“Paul was a person of few phrases and a commanding presence,” stated David Nachman, who lately retired from the New York legal professional basic’s workplace, the place he was the lead lawyer on the state’s opioid case and was working with Mr. Hanly to convey the case to trial in Suffolk County.
“When he entered a room, everybody observed,” Mr. Nachman stated by e mail. “When he spoke, everybody listened, and when he smiled, you knew issues could be OK.”
Paul James Hanly Jr. was born in Jersey Metropolis, N.J., on April 18, 1951. His father held varied 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 reasonably infamous in New Jersey; some members had been indicted on corruption costs and had served time in jail. These included his maternal grandfather, John V. Kenny, a former mayor of Jersey Metropolis and a strong Hudson County Democratic boss generally known as “the pope of Jersey Metropolis,” who was jailed within the Nineteen Seventies after pleading responsible to costs of revenue tax evasion.
Mr. Hanly took a distinct path. He went to Cornell, the place his roommate was Ed Marinaro, who went on to play skilled soccer and later turned an actor (finest identified for “Hill Road Blues”). Mr. Hanly, who performed soccer with him, graduated in 1972 with a serious in philosophy and acquired a scholar-athlete award because the Cornell varsity soccer senior who mixed the best educational common with excellent potential.
He earned a grasp’s diploma in philosophy from Cambridge College in 1976 and a regulation diploma from Georgetown in 1979. He then clerked for Lawrence A. Whipple, a U.S. District Courtroom decide in New Jersey.
Mr. Hanly’s marriage within the mid-Nineteen Eighties to Joyce Roquemore resulted in divorce. He’s 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 corporate 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 acknowledged over time that that was extra essential to us,” Ms. Conroy stated, “to ensure victims had been compensated for what occurred.”
Jan Hoffman contributed reporting.