Fort Wayne expected to join cities opting out of Indiana’s lawsuits against opioid makers

Fort Wayne, Indiana’s second-largest city, gave preliminary approval Tuesday to doing the same, with its city council expected to vote on the matter Tuesday.

Posted: Jun 20, 2021 5:13 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Several Indiana cities have opted out of the state’s pending lawsuits against opioid manufacturers and distributors, reasoning that they will likely see more cash from their own litigation filed in response to the nation’s opioid epidemic.

The suburban Indianapolis cities of Fishers and Noblesville recently joined Indianapolis, South Bend, Lafayette and other municipalities in deciding to forgo potential payments from the lawsuits filed by Indiana’s attorney general’s office.

Fort Wayne, Indiana’s second-largest city, gave preliminary approval Tuesday to doing the same, with its city council expected to vote on the matter Tuesday.

Noblesville city attorney Lindsey Bennett said if the city north of Indianapolis had continued as part of the attorney general’s lawsuits it would have to drop its own suits.

That would likely result in it receiving less money than through its own suits against opioid makers and distributors, she said.

“We would not be able to recover that money from the several lawsuits we’ve filed on our own. And it is unlikely we would recover as much money in the state’s lawsuit,” Bennett said.

A state law signed by Gov. Eric Holcomb this year requires cities and counties that want to pursue their own legal action to “opt out” of the attorney general’s lawsuits by June 30.

About half of Indiana’s cities and counties have filed lawsuits against opioid manufacturers, distributors and dispensers, seeking to recover funds they have spent on police, fire, treatment programs and prevention in response to opioid abuse, The Indianapolis Star reported.

Those municipalities sued more opioid-related companies than the state did and they have said they believe they’ll get better settlements on their own. Indianapolis, for example, sued 20 companies.

Cory Voight, director of complex litigation for the attorney general’s office, said Indiana has filed suits against four defendants and may participate in a fifth: Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin, and the Sackler family, the company’s owners; Cardinal Health; McKesson; AmerisourceBergen; and Janssen, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.

Under Indiana’s plan, the state will receive 15% of any settlement, localities will split 15% and the Family and Social Services Administration will get 70% to distribute around the state, with local governments deciding how to spend about half of it.

The attorney general’s office said in a statement that it was hopeful the dissenting cities would reconsider and rejoin the state’s lawsuits.

“Our goal from the beginning has been to partner with cities, towns and counties by splitting the proceeds evenly between the state and local communities,” the office said in the statement.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 775686

Reported Deaths: 14025
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1066871814
Lake572681031
Allen43500701
Hamilton37653427
St. Joseph37508568
Elkhart29882471
Tippecanoe23732232
Vanderburgh23634405
Porter19690327
Johnson19020394
Hendricks18271323
Clark13730199
Madison13719348
Vigo12949256
Monroe12691180
LaPorte12645225
Delaware11218198
Howard10832237
Kosciusko9851124
Hancock8855150
Bartholomew8343157
Warrick8216157
Floyd8128183
Grant7457181
Boone7289105
Wayne7273201
Morgan6988143
Marshall6376117
Dubois6327118
Cass6130112
Noble607391
Dearborn605878
Henry6001111
Jackson520977
Shelby514898
Lawrence5020128
Gibson471697
Montgomery464792
Clinton462755
DeKalb461485
Harrison459277
Huntington429082
Whitley421045
Steuben414561
Miami411573
Jasper403957
Knox397291
Putnam388762
Wabash373884
Adams358956
Ripley354571
Jefferson351487
White341854
Daviess3110100
Wells305981
Greene298485
Decatur294393
Posey288235
Fayette287764
Scott285458
LaGrange278873
Clay277649
Washington257638
Randolph248583
Jennings243349
Spencer240531
Fountain239050
Starke231559
Owen226759
Sullivan224143
Fulton210446
Jay204132
Carroll200623
Orange194456
Perry193139
Vermillion183444
Rush179127
Tipton174348
Franklin173935
Parke157816
Pike144034
Blackford138732
Pulaski124748
Newton124137
Benton111615
Brown106743
Crawford106716
Martin92715
Warren88715
Switzerland8568
Union73910
Ohio58711
Unassigned0429

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1132798

Reported Deaths: 20530
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1312911496
Cuyahoga1180592268
Hamilton830231263
Montgomery541901064
Summit491891018
Lucas43982835
Butler40324615
Stark34056941
Lorain26232511
Warren25125312
Mahoning22881614
Lake21602397
Clermont20592261
Delaware19295138
Licking16977227
Fairfield16959207
Trumbull16940493
Medina16019278
Greene15721254
Clark14439309
Portage13548219
Wood13411201
Allen12124245
Richland11870214
Miami11140229
Wayne9344228
Columbiana9282236
Muskingum9207137
Pickaway8796123
Marion8774140
Tuscarawas8756257
Erie8220166
Ashtabula7318180
Hancock7080135
Ross7070165
Geauga7032153
Scioto6887108
Belmont6261179
Lawrence6033106
Union595149
Jefferson5787162
Huron5678122
Sandusky5536130
Darke5476131
Seneca5391128
Washington5391111
Athens528660
Auglaize510587
Mercer492885
Shelby487798
Knox4678112
Ashland450198
Madison450066
Defiance444599
Fulton443275
Putnam4366104
Crawford4152112
Brown414163
Preble3988107
Logan396379
Clinton395667
Ottawa378281
Highland370768
Williams361878
Champaign351760
Guernsey334054
Jackson324954
Perry300550
Morrow298544
Fayette291350
Hardin280465
Henry279067
Coshocton275161
Holmes2735102
Van Wert254465
Gallia254150
Adams253658
Pike247137
Wyandot236557
Hocking224163
Carroll203349
Paulding181542
Meigs153940
Monroe139446
Noble138739
Harrison115738
Morgan112024
Vinton88217
Unassigned04
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