In opioid lawsuits, state aim is 1 voice

They plan to file group litigation that will include as many Arkansas cities and counties as will agree to sign on as plaintiffs, in a bid to make the lawsuit stand out from the rest.

By Chelsea Boozer
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Even though Arkansas had the second-highest opioid prescription rate in the nation last year, cities and counties in the state are late to the game in suing manufacturers and distributors of the highly addictive drugs as dozens of other communities have.

A litigation team representing the Association of Arkansas Counties and the Arkansas Municipal League hopes to soon change that. It said its approach is so unique it's never been done before.

Opioids are a class of drug that includes the illegal drug heroin, synthetic versions such as fentanyl, as well as prescription pain relievers like hydrocodone, oxycodone and morphine.

There have been roughly 100 lawsuits filed against top-tier opioid companies by cities, counties or states across the U.S. so far. The suits are expected to soon be grouped together as multidistrict litigation in federal courts.

Lawyers in Arkansas thought that if any individual town in the state were to file a lawsuit, it would get lost among all the other lawsuits from big cities like Chicago, Seattle and Cincinnati. Read more.

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