Ald. Michael Murphy
Press Release

Council approves hiring outside counsel to recover opioid epidemic costs

News release from Alderman Michael J. Murphy

By - Oct 15th, 2019 12:18 pm

Today the Common Council voted unanimously in favor of legislation that authorizes the City Attorney to hire outside counsel for litigation to recover expenses incurred by the city from the opioid crisis.

File #190817, sponsored by Alderman Michael J. Murphy, authorizes the City Attorney to retain the firm of Napoli Shkolnik, PLLC, of New York City to represent the City of Milwaukee in state or federal court in regard to potential opioid litigation.

Napoli Shkolnik, PLLC, has extensive experience representing municipalities and counties in excess of 250 cases seeking damages and remedies in regard to the opioid epidemic in various state courts and in the multi-district litigation pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Case No. 1:17-md-02804. Under the legislation the city would pay the firm “only from and in the event of a successful recovery by trial or settlement in the City’s favor.”

The Council previously approved legislation (File #190458) to explore litigation options and to possibly file suit against drug makers, distributors, and other parties that may be responsible for damages incurred by the City of Milwaukee due to the creation and perpetuation of the opioid epidemic.

Alderman Murphy, co-chair of the City-County Heroin, Opioid and Cocaine Task Force, said he is pleased with the Council action today. “Opioid addiction has been a costly plague for the City of Milwaukee and retaining outside counsel to explore possible litigation helps the City explore the option of seeking damages from drug-makers. Thousands of governmental entities throughout the United States are filing lawsuits against those companies and distributors engaged in marketing prescription opioids and we are now represented by counsel to look at whether we should also move in that direction,” he said.

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