Notice Sent to Cities With Opportunity to Opt Out of Federal Opioid Litigation

Cities that do not wish to remain in the settlement negotiating class in the litigation must return a form by Nov. 22 to the federal court for the Northern District of Ohio.
(Published Sep 30, 2019)

Every city and county in the nation is suddenly receiving a notice from the federal court for the Northern District of Ohio pertaining to the In re National Prescription Opiate Litigation. The notice gives cities and counties the opportunity to complete a form to indicate that they do not wish to be included in a court designated settlement negotiating class.

—See a sample of the notice (pdf)

The litigation alleges that “the manufacturers of prescription opioids grossly misrepresented the risks of long-term use of those drugs for persons with chronic pain, and distributors failed to properly monitor suspicious orders of those prescription drugs — all of which contributed to the current opioid epidemic.”

State deciding how to respond

With this latest development in the state and local government federal opioid litigation, the court is trying to fashion a framework for possible settlement.

Individual states are being given a leadership role in this, and the Minnesota attorney general is just starting conversations with cities and counties about how to approach the court order prompting these notices.

What cities need to do

Should your city opt out of the settlement negotiating class? That’s a decision you need to make in consultation with your city attorney. If you do decide to opt out of being included in the settlement negotiating class, you must complete and return the form by Nov. 22 to the federal court for the Northern District of Ohio.

If your city does not opt out, it automatically stays in the settlement negotiating class and, for the most part, loses the right to sue the specific defendants involved in this federal multi-district litigation.

If you have questions about this, contact LMC General Counsel Patricia Beety at pbeety@lmc.org or (651) 281-1270.

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