County Board Chairman Theodore Lipscomb, Sr.
Press Release

County Board Considers Lawsuit Against Opioid Drug Makers

The resolution specifies that outside counsel would only be compensated if Milwaukee County receives a financial benefit as a result of any claims made against a company.

By - Oct 17th, 2017 11:49 am

Pills by Tom Varco (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

Pills by Tom Varco (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

MILWAUKEE – The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors is expected to consider a proposal that would empower the county’s lawyers to select outside legal counsel and prepare for possible lawsuits against pharmaceutical manufacturers whose practices contribute to the ongoing opioid epidemic within Milwaukee County.

“In addition to the tragic loss of life that is increasing at an alarming rate, the opioid epidemic has also left Milwaukee County with potentially millions of dollars in unexpected costs,” said Peggy A. West, Chair of the Finance Committee.

“I’m working closely with our top attorneys to ensure that Milwaukee County takes appropriate legal action, if it is warranted, to recover some of the costs we have incurred while combating the opioid epidemic,” said County Board Chairman Theodore Lipscomb, Sr.

The proposal, from Corporation Counsel Margaret Daun, requests approval from the County Board to allow the county’s in-house lawyers to select outside counsel and determine whether to sue any pharmaceutical company, distributor, or manufacturer, if their practices are believed to contribute to the opioid epidemic in Milwaukee County.

The resolution specifies that outside counsel would only be compensated if Milwaukee County receives a financial benefit as a result of any claims made against a company.

The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner is predicting more than 325 opioid related deaths in 2017. More than 31,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Several other counties and local governments around the country have already filed lawsuits in an attempt to force individuals and businesses responsible for the costs of the opioid epidemic to take on the associated financial responsibilities.

The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors is seeking citizen input on the issue using the innovative civic engagement tool Polco. That poll question is available here.

Recent Press Releases by County Board Chairman Theodore Lipscomb, Sr.

Milwaukee County to Move Inmate Healthcare In-house by 2021

Short-term Contract Provides a Bridge to In-house Provision of Healthcare at the Jail and House of Corrections

Workgroup Recommends Set of Legislative Solutions to Avert County Funding Crisis

"We need a new partnership with state leaders on solutions that are good for the county and the state." "

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