JENNINGS — The Jeff Davis Parish Police Jury approved a resolution Wednesday in connection with its opioid litigation contract.

The Police Jury is among several government entities and state agencies seeking legal action to recoup costs incurred while dealing with the effects of opioids.

As requested by the attorney general, the resolution sets a contingency fee for litigation against opioid manufacturers and distributors.

The resolution sets the contingency fees at 25 percent of the first $10 million recovered; 20 percent on a recovery of up to $20 million; and 15 percent on a recovery of over $20 million, according to Police Jury legal counsel David Bruchhaus.

The resolution also establishes that a “real necessity” exists for hiring special counsel to oversee the litigation.

According to the resolution, the Police Jury’s general counsel and the Jeff Davis Parish District Attorney’s Office do not possess the resources, staff or expertise to handle such litigation.

The resolution indicates the Police Jury seeks to retain outside counsel with expertise to handle the litigation on a contingency fee basis and seek any damages it may be entitled to related to national, statewide and local opioid litigation.

The Police Jury has sought to retain and has agreed to a proposed contingency fee contract with attorneys John Young, Mike G. Stag, and Smith Stag, Smith and Fawer, Alvendia, Kelly and Demarest, Chehardy, Sherman, Williams, Murray, Recile, Stakelum and Hayes and Anthony Irpino, Avin and Hawkins.

The legal team will provide legal services related to filing any lawsuit.

The Police Jury approved a contract with the legal team in February to pursue possible legal action again drugmakers and distributors for costs incurred in fighting the opioid epidemic. 

The litigation also seeks to establish a special fund to help set up treatment for those addicted to opioids.

According to a similar lawsuit filed by the state, The Advocate reported, Louisiana has ranked among the top 10 states for opioid prescriptions on a per capita basis in recent years ... and has spent $677 million since 2007 ‘for treatment of opioid use and dependence.’ ”

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