Tennessee’s Attorney General moved Wednesday to stop lawsuits brought by District Attorneys General against several opioid manufacturers and health care providers.
Three such suits have been filed by local DAs since June 2017. The suits were filed in Campbell, Sullivan, and Cumberland Counties. They represent 14 DAs and 47 counties in Tennessee.
On Wednesday, Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III filed motions to stop those suits in favor of a state-led “global solution.” Also, the role of district attorneys, Slatery said, “is traditionally in the criminal field” and their claims on opioids are in the civil field.
“District Attorneys are seeking remedies for judicial districts when the Attorney General is in the best position to get injunctive relief for the entire state,” read a statement form Slatery’s office. “This intervention protects the interests of our state as a whole.
“The District Attorneys might do so only for their judicial districts. Further, many of these issues may be eventually negotiated, and it is not practical to have 14 District Attorneys and the Attorney General represent the state’s position. Each state cannot bring 14 people to the table and expect to accomplish anything.”
Further, Slatery said, the DAs did not follow the law when they hired outside counsel on their suits. Only the governor and the Attorney General can approve hiring outside counsel.
”That approval was neither sought nor given and in these cases proves problematic,” read the statement. “Our consistent position has been that all recoveries go to the state and affected areas, not to outside attorneys.”
In Memphis, the Shelby County Commission wrangled with Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell last year over the control of lawsuits against opioid manufacturers. According to a report in The Memphis Daily News
, those suits here are either tentative or pending.
Tennessee Department of Health
This graphic shows the amount of the population that uses high doses of opioids on a daily basis.