North Royalton City Council unanimously adopted a resolution approving a proposed plan for liquidation of an opioid maker in bankruptcy court.
The resolution states that the City is a party to lawsuits involving “the claims for damages arising out of the opioid addiction calamity.” One of the defendants in the case is Mallinckrodt PLC. The company filed for bankruptcy protection last October and there currently is pending a proposed plan of liquidation and the creation of a trust to pay out assets to the claimants. The City’s Special Counsel, Kelley and Ferraro LLP, who is representing the City in this matter, recommended approval of the resolution.
In March 2018, City Council unanimously adopted legislation that joins the State of Ohio to seek restitution for the opioid problem. The legislation stated the City, State, “and its communities have been significantly harmed by misfeasance, nonfeasance and malfeasance committed by certain entities within the Opioid Pharmaceutical Supply Chain; and the State of Ohio, through its Attorney General, and certain local governments, through their elected representatives and counsel, are separately engaged in litigation seeking to hold Opioid Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Participants accountable for the damage caused by their misfeasance, nonfeasance and malfeasance.” It goes on to say that they share a common desire to “abate and alleviate the impacts.” In that light, the state has drafted a “One Ohio” Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that relates to the allocation and proceeds of potential settlements of the opioid related cases. Council unanimously agreed to hire Cleveland law firm, Kelley & Ferraro LLP to represent the city in seeking damages incurred by the opioid problem. No monetary amount was given, but the city has been providing the firm with information regarding the expenses the city has incurred for treating opioid cases, such as Police and Fire Department EMT manpower, as well as the cost of Narcan, which serves as an antidote for heroin overdose victims. The contract with Kelley & Ferraro indicates that North Royalton will only pay a legal fee if it is awarded a monetary sum. If that is the case, the City would pay Kelley & Ferraro 25 percent of the settlement.
The contract states that they will “retain Kelley & Ferraro, LLP to investigate and prosecute any potential claim(s) Client may have against the drug manufacturers and/or pharmaceutical companies, pharmacy retailers, sellers and/or distributors of prescription opioid pain medications for the recovery of any and all costs, damages or loss, including but not limited to, any subrogation and/or reimbursement claims and/or any other claims that may be brought by Client in equity or under the applicable Federal or State law, related to the provision of care, service and/or supplies including the delivery of prescription opioid medications, treatments, hospitalizations, addiction and rehabilitation treatment, overdose or other opioid-related health-care services.” At that time, other local communities were also filing suit; such as Strongsville, Parma, Brunswick and Broadview Heights. Earlier in 2018, Cuyahoga County and the State of Ohio filed similar suits. Other states were also added and were consolidated into one court.
It was reported that the reorganization plan sets aside $1.6 billion to resolve the opioid litigation. The money will be distributed through a trust that has been formed. Mayor Larry Antoskiewicz stated that he does not know how much the city would be receiving and what the criteria for spending the city’s share would be at this time.

Contributing Writer