Fairfield is the latest community looking to join a national prescription opiate class-action lawsuit that already includes about 1,800 local governments and municipalities.
Fairfield city attorney John Clemmons said City Council determined it was in the city’s “best interest” to be a party plaintiff in the suit, “as opposed to just a class of local governments that would be eligible for recovery, but only as a general class.”
“If there is a settlement, and the division of settlement funds is determined, there will be a split between state governments and other local governments and we feel having our interest represented will be beneficial to our group as whole,” Clemmons said.
“So there will be some decisions made and we want to have the strongest voice we can have in that settlement and/or division of settlement proceeds.”
The December 2017-filed lawsuit alleges manufacturers of prescription opioids “grossly misrepresented” the risks of long-term use of the prescribed drugs for people with chronic pain. It also claims distributors “failed to properly monitor suspicious orders” of prescriptions which the plaintiffs claim contributed to the opioid epidemic.
Ohio Northern District Court Judge Dan Polster is presiding over the lawsuit.
Clemmons said Fairfield’s attorneys representing the city in the suit are preparing documents to request joining the multi-district litigation.
While financial relief is being sought, Clemmons said the resolution is designed to abate a public nuisance.
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