Opioid litigation shouldn’t profit lawyers over patients

Lawsuits brought by powerful state or local governments must serve the public interest, and not merely the profit-seeking interests of politically influential members of the plaintiffs’ bar.

Drawing a bright line between these obviously conflicting interests has been a policy priority for the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) for more than a decade, animating our drive to enact commonsense statutes — in 18 states thus far — that promote accountability and transparency when public authorities feel compelled to hire outside counsel to initiate major litigation.

In fact, ATRA was part of the successful 2015 effort to enact such a statute in Ohio, where Attorney General Mike DeWine has hired outside counsel as “consultants” in his lawsuit against makers of opioid pain medications.

Among those consultants is former Mississippi Attorney General Mike Moore, whose private-sector associates in precedent-setting, multistate litigation against tobacco companies 20 years ago were widely reported to have netted more than $1.6 billion in fees without ever providing citizens a full accounting of the work they performed.

Tiger Joyce
The Hill