Town to join lawsuit for opioid remediation

This illustration image shows tablets of opioid painkiller Oxycodon delivered on medical prescription taken on September 18, 2019 in Washington,DC. - Millions of Americans sank into addiction after using potent opioid painkillers that the companies churned out and doctors freely prescribed over the past two decades. Well over 400,000 people died of opioid overdoses in that period, while the companies involved raked in billions of dollars in profits. And while the flood of prescription opioids into the black market has now been curtailed, addicts are turning to heroin and highly potent fentanyl to compensate, where the risk of overdose and death is even higher. (Photo by Eric BARADAT / AFP) (Photo credit should read ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images)

Collierville has joined the State of Tennessee and other local governments to file a lawsuit against opioid manufacturers, distributors and retailers. 

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved a resolution last week to allow the town to join a state subdivision opioid abatement agreement. 

There is also a federal lawsuit and other state lawsuits that are pending in litigation that is referred to as the National Prescription Opioid Litigation. Certain pharmaceutical distributors and manufacturers have proposed settlements.

Tennessee, working with cities and counties, has developed a unified plan for the allocation of settlement funds.

The General Assembly enacted Public Chapter 491 during the 2021 Session which addresses the allocation of funds from the proposed opioid litigation settlement.

In order to participate in any settlement agreement, Collierville had to formally approve a Resolution authorizing the town to join the Tennessee State Subdivision Opioid Abatement Agreement and to formally approve the agreement.

One of the key components of the agreement has to do with the use of settlement funds. Generally, funds must be used for opioid remediation and future opioid abatement. There are also provisions for other documented expenses including attorneys’ fees.

The Abatement Agreement states that, “Multiple opioid manufacturers have filed for bankruptcy in actions for which the state and many subdivisions are creditors for opioid-related claims. These companies include Purdue and Mallinckrodt. It is anticipated that other entities involved in activities related to the manufacture, marketing, distribution, dispensing, or sale of opioids may also file for bankruptcy and that the State and one or more Subdivisions will pursue opioid-related claims in those actions.

Funds allocated to the State and Subdivisions for such claims shall be disbursed pursuant to the confirmed bankruptcy plan for the relevant entity, including requirements for funds to be used for future abatement. It is anticipated that one or more of such plans shall include the allocation of Relevant Funds that must be dedicated to opioid abatement programs. All Relevant Funds shall be placed in the Tennessee Opioid Abatement Fund and allocated pursuant to Sections V.B. Relevant Funds do not include funds disbursed through bankruptcy plans that are not restricted to abatement or that are disbursed for claims that are unrelated to the opioid crisis.”


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