River Forest village trustees unanimously approved joining a class action lawsuit against manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioids at a regular board meeting on April 9.
The class action suit, which is pending in the Federal District Court in Cleveland, consolidates complaints by hundreds of cities like Chicago, counties like Cook and Native American tribes across the nation, said Village Attorney Greg Smith. Defendants include such pharmaceutical giants as Johnson & Johnson; large health-care distributors like Cardinal Health; and pharmacy chains like the Deerfield-based Walgreens, according to a report in the New York Times. Village President Cathy Adduci said opioid abuse is “plaguing our nation.”
“The village has expended taxpayer funds in response to prescription opioid abuses, and the village seeks to recover these expenditures that are attributable to the wrongful acts and omissions of those involved in manufacturing, distributing and promoting opioids,” reads the new village resolution.
River Forest will retain the Chicago-based Edelson PC law firm for representation.
The village will not pay any attorneys’ fees or expenses unless it achieves recovery, settlement or judgment in the opioid matter, according to the new resolution. If the judge rules an outcome in the case — Smith said the judge was pushing for a settlement sometime in 2018 — River Forest will pay 23 percent of the net recovery if the matter is resolved pre-complaint; 28 percent if the matter is resolved after a complaint is filed but before a summary judgment briefing is completed; and 32 percent of the net recovery if the matter is resolved after summary judgment briefing is completed in either the village’s lawsuit or in any related consolidated proceeding, according to the resolution.
“The president and board of trustees of the village find that approval of the agreement and pursuit of the litigation best serve the public’s health, safety and welfare,” the resolution reads.