Print Column: Public Must Keep a Sharp Eye on Relationship Between Local Politicians, Opioid Lawyers

MINOT, N.D. — More and more local governments in North Dakota are deciding to join themselves to lawsuits against the opioid industry over the objections of Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.

Stenehjem joined North Dakota with several other states in a lawsuit against Oxycontin manufacturer Purdue Pharma, and has warned local governments that joining separate suits independent of the state could limit their ability to access any settlement dollars the state wins.

But local governments like Grand Forks County and the Bismarck City Commission, lobbied heavily various law firms, have eschewed this advice.

Taxpayers ought to sit up and take notice. These high profile lawsuits are a veritable industry in the legal community. When law firms like South Carolina-based Motley Rice, the firm chosen by Grand Forks County and the City of Bismarck, get government clients they stand to make a lot of money.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from noon-2pm weekdays.

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