Wichita City Council votes to join lawsuit against opioid manufacturers

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FILE – This Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013 file photo shows pills of the painkiller hydrocodone at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. Accidental overdoses aren’t the only deadly risk from using powerful prescription painkillers _ the drugs may also contribute to heart-related deaths and other fatalities, according to research published Tuesday, June 14, 2016. “As bad […]

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Wichita City Council voted 7-0 to join a lawsuit against opioid manufacturers.

Approximately 2,000 cites, counties and other agencies have filed lawsuits against opioid manufacturers and distributors.

The different groups are seeking damages for costs of law enforcement, first responders, courts, jails, etc. that are alleged to be direct results of the prescription opioid epidemic.

“The city was approached by several law firms over the past several months acquiring if the city was interested in becoming a plaintiff as a government entity and offering their services,” said Jennifer Magana, Wichita City Attorney.

Under the agreement, the city will be represented by Hutton & Hutton Law Firm as an individual plaintiff. The firm would charge a 20% contingency fee. There is no cost to the city, but city staff would need to document the damages.

Also on Tuesday, a federal judge from the Northern District of Ohio overseeing litigation related to the opioid epidemic has ruled that claims against Purdue Pharma and other drug companies can move to trial as the OxyContin maker tries to reach a settlement.

The ruling was one of several by U.S. District Court Judge Dan Polster who is preparing for trial scheduled for Oct. 21 over claims from the Ohio counties of Cuyahoga and Summit.

It would be the first federal trial seeking to hold drug companies accountable for an overdose and addiction crisis that has killed more than 400,000 Americans since 2000.

The judge also ruled that claims can move forward against generic drugmakers and smaller distributors, who had argued that they should be let off the hook.

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