County likely to join others in suit over opioid epidemic

Localities across America are suing certain drug manufacturers and distributors for allegedly creating – for profit – an opioid epidemic that is costing millions and killing thousands across the country.

Monday night Pulaski County came a step closer to becoming one of those localities.

Last month, attorneys from the Kansas City law firm of Wagstaff and Cartmell approached the Board of Supervisors about the possibility of representing Pulaski County should the county decide to join others in opioid litigation.

County attorney Tim Kirtner told the supervisors Monday that a number of localities in Southwest and Northern Virginia are joining the trend of suing over opioids.

He explained that the Kansas City firm has proposed a retainer agreement to represent the county in any suit over opioids. Kirtner said Wythe, Smyth and Russell counties have signed on with the firm.

According to the proposal, Kirtner explained, Pulaski County would not pay anything for representation unless it recovers money from a verdict or settlement in the case.

Initially, Wagstaff and Cartmell proposed that it would receive one-third of the money recovered by the county.  Now, Kirtner said, the firm has proposed representing the county for a quarter of whatever money Pulaski County recovers.

“That could be some very real money, given the type of money we could be talking about in this case,” Kirtner told the supervisors.

Kirtner also suggested that language be added to any contract with the firm that Pulaski County would only pay expenses if it recovers money from the case, and then would only pay for expenses directly related to the firm’s work for the county.

The supervisors voted unanimously to agree to the contract with the two modifications suggested by Kirtner.

“The potential for Pulaski County to recover funds is great, and the amount of those funds could be substantial,” noted Board Chairman Andy McCready.

Localities across America are suing certain drug manufacturers and distributors for allegedly creating – for profit – an opioid epidemic that is costing millions and killing thousands across the country.

Monday night Pulaski County came a step closer to becoming one of those localities.

Last month, attorneys from the Kansas City law firm of Wagstaff and Cartmell approached the Board of Supervisors about the possibility of representing Pulaski County should the county decide to join others in opioid litigation.

County attorney Tim Kirtner told the supervisors Monday that a number of localities in Southwest and Northern Virginia are joining the trend of suing over opioids.

He explained that the Kansas City firm has proposed a retainer agreement to represent the county in any suit over opioids. Kirtner said Wythe, Smyth and Russell counties have signed on with the firm.

According to the proposal, Kirtner explained, Pulaski County would not pay anything for representation unless it recovers money from a verdict or settlement in the case.

Initially, Wagstaff and Cartmell proposed that it would receive one-third of the money recovered by the county.  Now, Kirtner said, the firm has proposed representing the county for a quarter of whatever money Pulaski County recovers.

“That could be some very real money, given the type of money we could be talking about in this case,” Kirtner told the supervisors.

Kirtner also suggested that language be added to any contract with the firm that Pulaski County would only pay expenses if it recovers money from the case, and then would only pay for expenses directly related to the firm’s work for the county.

The supervisors voted unanimously to agree to the contract with the two modifications suggested by Kirtner.

“The potential for Pulaski County to recover funds is great, and the amount of those funds could be substantial,” noted Board Chairman Andy McCready.

By MIKE WILLIAMS, The Patriot

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