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County Commission Hires Special Counsel to Investigate Opioid Drug Companies

02/27/2019

The County Commission approved an agreement to engage special counsel to investigate and initiate possible litigation against opioid drug manufacturing companies throughout the United States.

A professional services agreement with Robles Rael & Anaya, P.C. and Baron & Budd, P.C. will be signed as part of a local effort to hold drug companies responsible for deceptive marketing and trade practices.

The county litigation seeks to recover losses, including but not limited to, medical costs associated with opioid treatment, drug intervention costs, loss of life or injury, and law enforcement and public health costs.

“Bernalillo County intends to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for their irresponsible marketing of opioids that has had tragic consequences here in our community,” says County Commission Chair Maggie Hart Stebbins. “This litigation seeks to recover the financial costs to the county and drive change in marketing practices.”

The law firm for this investigation and possible litigation will be retained on a zero sum fee but the agreement allows the law firm to petition the courts for reasonable attorney’s fees and costs which may exceed the county manager’s signature authority.

The measure was approved by a unanimous 5-0 commission vote.

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