MINOT, N.D.—The state of North Dakota has, thanks to Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, joined a lawsuit against the opioid industry that’s reminiscent of the litigation backed by the states against the tobacco industry decades ago.
Local governments are also considering filing their own suits independent of our state government.
The political leadership in Cass County has already opted to go that route, while leaders in Ward (Minot) and Grand Forks counties are still considering the matter.
Should these local governments be filing suit on their own?
Stenehjem’s office doesn’t think so, arguing litigation from both our state government and its political subdivisions could complicate and dilute any potential settlement for the taxpayers.
They’re probably right.
That debate aside, one thing we need to be wary of is the relationship between the politicians making these decisions and the law firms filing the lawsuits.
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp’s role involving North Dakota in the tobacco lawsuits is an example of how things can go wrong.