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Professors McGinley and Weise fought to disclose federal opioid data

WVU Law Professor Suzanne Weise

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.—Two WVU Law professors helped secure the recent release of data that is shedding light on the national distribution of opioids.

Patrick McGinley and Suzanne Weise represented pro bono the Charleston (West Virginia) Gazette-Mail and its parent company, HD Media, in a year-long federal court legal battle to force the public release of government information identifying the volume of prescription opioid pills that flooded the United States and fueled a national health crisis.

An Ohio federal judge overseeing more than 2000 cases brought by states, counties, and cities, including many in West Virginia, had barred public disclosure of the data, which was also sought by The Washington Post. However, that ruling was overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

The data, gathered by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, tracks every pain pill sold in the country, from manufacturers and distributors to pharmacies. On average, 46 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Bowen '20 is a Steiger Fellow in the West Virginia AG office

WVU Law student Brian Bowen '20

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.—A fellowship from the American Bar Association is helping rising 3L Brian Bowen get important work experience this summer.

Bowen is a 2019 ABA Steiger Fellow in the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the West Virginia Attorney General in Charleston. The $6,000 fellowship is awarded to just 37 law students nationally who are interested in consumer protection and public service.

“Receiving the Steiger Fellowship is particularly meaningful to me because I pursued a career in law to promote public understanding of consumer issues and to defend consumer rights,” said Bowen. “The attorney general takes on some of the most complicated and difficult consumer cases in West Virginia, and being exposed to these issues is allowing me to expand my skills, knowledge, and experience while I work with some of the most qualified people in the state.”

At WVU Law, Bowen is a member of the Public Interest Advocates and an inaugural fellow in the Center for Consumer Law and Education. He has also helped launch the student Consumer Law Group at WVU.  Bowen has been a legal extern at Mountain State Justice and an intern at Mobilization for Justice in New York City.

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