Mason County’s litigation committee Wednesday approved hiring three law firms to represent the county in national litigation against culpable pharmaceutical manufacturers or distributors of opioid analgesics.

The law firms are Weitz and Luxenberg, Sam Bernstein Law Firm and Smith and Johnson Attorneys.

Tim Smith of Smith and Johnson Attorneys of Traverse City presented the idea to the full Mason County Board of Commissioners Dec. 27 and answered questions about the suit.

Smith said he has already lined up many cities and counties to participate in the suit and said money earned by the case could be used by the county to offset costs associated with responding to problems caused by opioid abuse in the county. Those costs would include arrests and prosecution as well as health care and child services.

The suit, he said, also has a second objective, which is to have the court order violators to conduct business as they are supposed to do, which is to include an effective system to detect and report suspicious orders for controlled substances.

Smith said the law firms would pay the costs of the litigation and then be reimbursed with money from the settlement.

The firms would then receive a contingent fee of 30 percent of the net sum recovered by lawsuit, settlement or otherwise for Mason County’s share of recovery only.

The fee would be paid only if there is a recovery and will be paid only after reimbursement is made for any litigation expenses.

Read the full story in Thursday's Ludington Daily News print and eEditions.

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