City Council hires special council in opioid litigation

Greg Fischer Editor-in-chief
Attorney Frank Shaw addresses the city council on opioid litigation.

The first item discussed at the city council meeting was a resolution to hire Shaw & Leger to represent Donaldsonville in ongoing opioid litigation held in a Federal court.

Attorney Frank Shaw presented the council with the opportunity to participate in the class action lawsuit held in a Federal Court in Cleveland, Ohio. The fee for representation is 25 percent based solely on whatever settlement can be reached.

"Currently there is a multi-district litigation panel in the city of Cleveland, " Shaw began. ". . . The judge there has suggested that Purdue Pharma and a listing of many other defendants are in settlement discussions, which are ongoing as we speak."

The council approved the resolution, supported by Mayor Leroy Sullivan to allow Shaw & Leger to represent them in the class action lawsuit. The lawsuit represents over-prescribing of opioids that lead to addiction and subsequently crime and other issues in communities across the country.

What was not discussed was where those funds would go if Donaldsonville would receive any sort of settlement. Councilman Rev. Charles Brown expressed his concerns over the issue of throwing money at the issue. Councilman Brent Landry deemed the opioid epidemic a spiritual void.

"We're just getting on board to get money for something, but we still have an epidemic we're dealing with," Brown said. "That's not going to solve that issue."

Shaw replied that the money would go towards helping with treatment options.

"Just a lawsuit isn't going to stop the drugs in our community," Brown said. "It's getting worse and worse."

Shaw shared that he lost a son to an opioid overdose at LSU. "I agree with you 100 percent," he said. "Money can't bring back a deceased relative. We do what we can."

Next, the council approved several invoices for GSA sewer work performed. Council Chairman Raymond Aucoin explained that the invoices were previously reviewed at the last committee of the whole meeting.

Lastly, Fire Chief James MacDonald shared that the Donaldsonville Volunteer Fire Department is down volunteers. They responded shorthanded to a couple calls last month. If anyone is interested in donating their time for a good cause, this is it.