Majority of settlement dollars earmarked for local communities
TYLER, Texas – Lawyers at the Martin Walker law firm in Tyler say while the number attached to the recently announced Texas portion of the settlement with opioid manufacturers and distributors – $1.85 billion – is a big one, what matters most is the fact most of those dollars are headed to local communities, where the tragedy of the opioid epidemic continues to play out every day.
VIDEO – Jack Walker discusses the opioid settlement.
“It’s easy to assume the opioid story is over,” says Reid Martin, co-founder of Martin Walker. “But the truth is, people continue to suffer and die from the opioid epidemic. That’s why these dollars are so important.”
Under the settlement agreed to by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, 15 percent of the funds will go to the state of Texas, 15 percent to cities and counties and the remaining 70 percent to an opioid abatement council. The council will apportion monies to local communities to treat opioid victims.
The Texas portion of the deal is part of a larger $26 billion settlement opioid manufacturers and distributors agreed to late last week. Initial checks may go out as soon as April.
In all, the Martin Walker firm represented 29 counties that brought claims against opioid manufacturers and distributors, including Smith County and Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran, who functioned as a leader for the efforts on behalf of rural counties in Texas. He worked together with Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, who spoke for the state’s more populous counties and who was represented by attorney Jeffrey Simon. Mr. Simon and other lawyers, working together with representatives from the Texas Attorney General’s office, negotiated the deal.
“This took a tremendous amount of effort and an awful lot of persistence, but now we’re going to see the payoff,” says attorney Jack Walker. “I expect that in many cases, these dollars will mean the difference between life and death for those struggling with opioid addiction.”