County will not pursue opioid lawsuit

St. Joseph County will not be included in a national lawsuit against manufacturers and distributors of opioids.

During Tuesday’s meeting, a motion to approve outside counsel for opioid litigation failed after a 2-2 deadlock. Commissioner John Dobberteen was absent.

The issue of a national opioid-addiction crisis has been well documented, and a number of municipalities and government entities have banded together to sue manufacturers of such products.

Commission chair Dennis Allen said a representative from one of the firms pursuing the lawsuit attended last week’s executive committee meeting and provided information about the legal pursuit.

Commissioners Allen Balog and Kathy Pangle voted against the motion. Balog read a prepared statement prior to casting his dissenting vote. He said the pharmaceutical companies researched and developed a product that does what it is intended to do: manage pain.

He noted that attorneys would net 70 percent of the proceeds if the lawsuit is successful. The remaining 30 percent would be shared by all of the entities in the nation that joined the lawsuit.

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