Franklin County hires outside counsel to join lawsuits against opiate manufacturers, distributors

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FRANKLIN CO., OH (WCMH) – In the first nine months of 2017, there were more drug overdose deaths in Franklin County than in all of 2016.

“Franklin County being the largest county of Ohio, we’re in the center of this battle and fight,” said Kevin Boyce, president of the county board of commissioners.

The county already has an Opiate Action Plan that includes more space for addiction treatment, as well as drug take-back programs.

On Tuesday, the board of commissioners adopted a resolution to hire outside legal counsel to join in ongoing civil lawsuits against opiate drug manufacturers and distributors.

The law firm Taft, Stettinius and Hollister, LLP will act as lead counsel, and the firm Greene, Ketchum, Farrell, Bailey and Tweel, LLP will act as co-counsel.

According to the county, Taft, Stettinius and Hollister is also representing 30 other Ohio counties, as well as cities including Cincinnati.

The goal, in part, is to figure out who’s responsible for the state of the opioid crisis in Ohio, but also to help those struggling with addiction to get treatment.

“How do we change the culture, how do we change the laws and the policies that allowed us to get here, so that families in our community can be strengthened around the abatement of the opioid crisis?” Boyce said.

The county says attorneys’ fees will only be paid if there’s a settlement or judgment. Otherwise, Boyce said, the county bears no financial responsibility.

Attorneys from outside counsel said Franklin County, with its large population and resources, could help play a large role in a solution for all of Ohio.

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