ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) – On Friday, the Allen County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution to opt out of Indiana’s legislation regarding lawsuits against opioid companies. The board said it will instead move forward with its own lawsuit against opioid distributors and manufacturers for damages caused by the opioid crisis.
The state enacted legislation earlier this year that restricts how settlement money from those lawsuits will be distributed. Under that legislation, 15% of state settlement money will have to be shared between counties, cities and towns based on population.
Laura Maser, the board’s staff attorney, said the 15% distribution only takes into account the population of a county’s unincorporated areas and would likely not be enough to cover the damages the county sustained as a result of the opioid crisis. Both Maser and the national counsel representing the county in its lawsuit recommended passage of the resolution, the Allen County Board of Commissioners said.
“We certainly have been damaged by the opioid crisis,” Maser said. “We’ve had courts that have been overwhelmed, a jail that has been overwhelmed.”
She added that the county health department has also been massively affected.
The Allen County Board of Commissioners said the county can opt back into the state plan within 60 days of deciding to withdraw.