Opioid Litigation and Settlements Update Provided by MN Attorney General

The state has prepared updated information for cities about national opioid litigation and the potential for settlements that could affect all Minnesota cities.
(Published Dec 9, 2019)

The League has been contacted by the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office (AG) as part of early efforts to discuss coordination and allocation of potential funds coming to the state through settlement recoveries in the national opioid litigation.

The Minnesota AG, along with every other state attorney general, is involved in investigations against various entities related to opioid marketing and distribution. In addition, several Minnesota counties and cities are directly involved in the national multidistrict litigation against opioid manufacturers and distributors.

—Read the AG’s letter to the League (pdf)

The Minnesota AG believes that resolution of these cases may require the state to allocate funds among all municipalities in Minnesota. To start working through this complicated process, the AG is providing information to local governments.

—See a fact sheet about the national opioid settlement (pdf)

New state law on opioid epidemic response

Of special note for cities is the AG’s reference to the Opiate Epidemic Response Law passed by bipartisan agreement earlier this year. This new law secures sustainable funding to fight the opioid crisis and establishes the Opioid Epidemic Response Advisory Council.

The 19 voting members of the council will make recommendations about how to spend money earmarked for overdose prevention, addiction recovery, law enforcement, and other services related to the epidemic. The state is expected to raise $20 million a year from increased fees on drug companies and distributors, although revenue from the new fees isn’t expected to begin to flow until next spring.

Special fund to address opioid epidemic

This new law creates a special fund dedicated to addressing the opioid epidemic. Any money recovered by the state from its opioid lawsuits will go into this special fund. As this could potentially impact settlements involving local governments, coordination and discussion with the state is important. The League will continue to be involved in these efforts and update members on developments.

For more information, contact LMC General Counsel Patricia Beety at pbeety@lmc.org or (651) 281-1270.

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