Local Government County votes to join legal fight against opioid manufacturers, distributors | The Cullman Tribune

Local Government

County votes to join legal fight against opioid manufacturers, distributors

Updated 12-14-17 at 5:11 p.m.

CULLMAN - The Cullman County Commission on Thursday morning approved a resolution authorizing a Florida law firm to represent the County in a multi-party class action lawsuit against the five largest manufacturers and three largest distributors of opioids.

The commission unanimously approved Resolution no. 2018-12, which will allow the firm of Levin Papantonio Thomas Mitchell Rafferty & Proctor, P.A. out of Pensacola to represent Cullman County in the suit. The firm is already representing 13 government entity clients in Alabama, and 161 nationwide, according to Cullman County Attorney Chad Floyd.

“It’s becoming fairly evident to everyone that there is, and of course the buzzword here in the last year has been opioid crisis or opioid epidemic, there’s been an emerging problem with opioid overdoses and perhaps what we would consider opioid over-prescription,” said Floyd.

“The obvious goal (of joining the lawsuit) would be to regain some of the cost that the County is currently bearing because of this opioid over-prescription, a couple being the fact that inmates once they’re taken in, if they have overdosed with opioids, the County winds up picking up that cost at the hospital for them,” said Floyd. “Obviously, there’s additional cost to our sheriff’s office and an additional cost to our detention center that’s all linked to this. I’d like us to partner with this law firm and allow them to represent us in this action.”

According to Floyd, there are no up-front expenses to the County.

“We will be working under what's called a contingency fee agreement, meaning the firm only recovers their expenses and a fee if they collect for the County,” he said.

The County’s vote is in line with the City of Cullman, which, in its council meeting on Dec. 4, voted to allow City Attorney Roy Williams to retain additional outside legal counsel for the City’s claim in the same action.

In old business, the commission:

- voted not to pass Resolution 2018-04- to vacate the entirety of County Road 121

- approved time and attendance annual software agreement with Gorrie-Regan for courthouse and road personnel for $8,078.20

- approved bid no. 1275 for a current model compact SUV

In new business, the commission:

- authorized the signing of a State Homeland Security Strategic Technology Reserve Grant in the amount of $8,000

- authorized the signing of the State Mortuary Operations Team (SMORT) Grant in the amount of $11,000

- authorized Chairman Kenneth Walker to submit a release request for the Federal Aviation Administration for the release of 1.23 acres of land at Cullman Regional Airport, purchased with FAA Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grant 3-01-0022-018-2011, at fair market value.

Cullman Regional Airport General Manager Ben Harrison addressed the commission, saying that the acreage would never be able to be used for aviation purposes. He requested the land be released so that it might be the future hope of a fire station for the Vinemont-Providence Volunteer Fire Department.

- authorized Walker to sign an agreement with the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) for the construction of a bathhouse and multiple by wash station at Stony Lonesome OHV Park. Grant monies have already been awarded.

- approved the application for a fiscal year 2018 Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) Grant in conjunction with the City of Cullman.

“This is an application that was started with the City of Cullman. They are looking to complete a streetscape project of about four blocks over here just east of the railroad,” said Floyd.

“The way a TAP grant works, the reason that we’re a part of this is we’re the county in which the city of Cullman is situated so we have to be a partner for purposes of filing the grant application; however, we’re not a financial partner in this project. This is entirely funded by the City of Cullman and will not cost us anything. We have no financial obligation in this project.”

- authorized Floyd to sign a complaint for declaratory judgment against certain companies collecting solid waste from within Cullman County.

- awarded a bid for the Owen Ridge and County Line water tank recoat to Robinson & Sons Construction Services, Inc.

- authorized payment to the ACCA Liability Self-Insurance Fund for renewal of liability insurance from Jan. 1, 2018 to Jan. 1, 2019. The premium is $396,615.

- appointed Josiah Daily deputy coroner following the resignation of Samuel Tucker

- approved the purchase of six printers ($5,994) and a print service agreement ($507.50 per month) from Ameritek for the revenue office

- approved a service contract between volunteer fire department and Sharp Communications for 23 various pieces of equipment for $1,519.02 per month

- authorized repairs to a compac roller for the road department by Thompson Tractor for $13,450

- approved Resolution no. 2018-08 to resurface County Road 813 from County Road 437 to County Road 222

- approved Resolution no. 2018-09 to resurface County Road 1545 from County Road 1422 to the intersection of County Road 1527

- approved Resolution no. 2018-11 to set the speed limit on County Road 1668 at 35 mph

- approved bid no. 1276 for herbicide

- agreed to close County offices on Dec. 26 for an extended Christmas holiday

County offices will be closed Dec. 25-26 for the Christmas holiday and Jan. 1, 2018 for New Year’s Day.  The sanitation department WILL NOT collect garbage on Christmas Day.  Monday garbage collection will be Tuesday; Tuesday will be on Wednesday; Wednesday collection Thursday; Thursday collection Friday; and Friday collection on Saturday.  Sanitation will run its normal routes on Monday, Jan. 1.


- Santa Claus will be at the courthouse on Wednesday, Dec. 20 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. in the main lobby.

- The next Cullman County Commission meeting will be on Thursday, Dec. 28 at 10 a.m. in the commission meeting room. The public is welcome to attend.


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