AG Morrisey, local officials reach agreement over opioid settlement funds

WTAP News @ 5
Published: Feb. 16, 2022 at 12:59 PM EST
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said Wednesday that he has reached an agreement with representatives of most of the state’s cities and counties on how settlement or judgement money will be distributed in the state’s various opioid lawsuits.

The agreement, which is officials call a memorandum of understanding, calls for the creation of a private, nonstock, nonprofit foundation, whose purpose would be to abate opioid-related problems around the state. That foundation would get about 72.5 percent of settlement and judgement monies made in opioid cases. Another 24.5 percent of funds would go to local governments and about three percent would be held in escrow by the state.

Morrisey spoke at press conference Wednesday about the agreement and said in a written release that “the agreement is required by the West Virginia Mass Litigation Panel to become eligible for any opioid settlement monies obtained pursuant to court orders.”

He said the new foundation would be managed by 11 board members and an executive director. Representatives from six regions would sit on the foundation’s board alongside five appointees from the state (subject to approval of by the state senate). The executive director would run the foundation’s daily operations and could attend board meetings, but would only vote as a tiebreaker.

The attorney general hopes to have full legislative support for his agreement.

“The communities of our state have been ravaged by the wrongdoing of those within the pharmaceutical supply chain,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “With this MOU, West Virginia has dramatically improved its ability to speak with a united voice and take actions to protect all the citizens of our state from this epidemic.”

You can read the full press release from Morrisey’s office here.

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