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Federal Court Opioid Hearing Could Lead to Settlement

A lawsuit against opioid manufacturers and distributors filed by local governments including Rome, Floyd County and several other northwest Georgia governments could be affected by an Aug. 6 hearing.

Brinson Askew Berry partner Andy Davis and Rome attorney Bob Finnell are taking the lead on the suit filed jointly by local governments. The lawsuit is consolidated with hundreds of others across the country into a multi-district litigation case.

U.S. District Judge Dan A. Polster of the Northern District of Ohio will hold a hearing in the multi-district litigation case to consider a proposal to appoint a negotiating class of plaintiffs to work out a settlement distribution that would bind them all.

“We are looking at it. We are trying to analyze it for the various cities and counties we represent,” Davis to the Rome News-Tribune.

Davis told the newspaper the concept is a novel one in several ways.

“You’d be creating a negotiating class without even knowing what the settlement would be,” Davis said. “If you don’t opt out, you’re entering it blindly.”

“There are just a lot of moving parts ... That’s part of the tug-of-war. The opioid crisis is being dealt with by the states, but it’s also being dealt with locally in terms of crime, jail, overdoses — not to mention what it does to the family fabric of a community,” Davis added.

The Rome City and Floyd County commissions have said any settlement money would go into supplementing the budgets of strained agencies and bolstering social service programs aimed at addressing addiction and its fallout, the newspaper reported.

Rome News-Tribune article