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Victoria County considering opioid litigation against Pharmaceutical Industry

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The possibility of opioid litigation against the pharmaceutical industry was the main discussion during this morning's Commissioner's Court meeting, leaving the commissioners to weigh their options. 

Representatives from Cappolino Dodd Krebs LLP and Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett Trial Lawyers spoke to county commissioner's about the benefits and impact of potential county opioid litigation against the pharmaceutical industry. It was stated during the meeting that twenty seven counties have filed litigation with the law firms in Texas, with more to come. Attorney Richard Dodd, of Cappolino Dodd Krebs LLP, says there are ninety one opioid related deaths reported nationwide every day. Both the law firms as well as the county attorney believe it is in the best interest of the county to file their own separate litigation, instead of joining any state litigation, a point county judge Ben Zeller agrees with.

"Well, I think that's correct. If we do proceed with this, we I think do a better job looking out for our own interest then the state government. I think if we to proceed, the county and our citizens would be better off of us pursuing this individually rather then hoping the state does something on our behalf."

During the meeting, a Citizens Medical Center doctor says Victoria County has seen twenty one uses of the drug Narcan, a counter agent to opioid overdose, in the past six months. By comparison, Bastrop county, a county represented by the law firms for opioid litigation, saw zero cases of Narcan being used in over a year. The law firms say opioid addiction is a major issue in Victoria County and believe the county has a strong case to file it's own litigation against pharmaceutical manufactures and distributors. 

If the county chooses to pursue litigation with these law firms, they would not be responsible for any legal fees or costs unless the litigation ends in a settlement or judgment in favor of the county. The law firms would be owed thirty percent of any settlements or money received from litigation. Judge Zeller stressed that no additional taxes will be issued to pay for this litigation. Commissioner's say they will conduct their own research to see if this is the right move for the county, and will have a final decision on pursuing opioid litigation by the end of the year.

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