City joins lawsuit to recover opioid expenses

Winchester officials voted unanimously to be the first city to join a lawsuit to seek reimbursement from opioid manufacturers for expenses related to overdoses.

Winchester Mayor Ed Burtner said Tuesday the potential suit was presented to mayors at the Kentucky League of Cities convention by representatives of several law firms that partnered on the suit.

The suit, Burtner said, would be similar to one Clark County voted to join previously through the Kentucky Association of Counties. At that time, about 35 counties had joined the suit.

“We are the first city to do this,” Burtner said. “I don’t know how many cities will join us.”

There is no cost to the city, he said, and the attorneys’ fees would come from any settlements.

“In my mind, this is one thing we can do,” Burtner said.

The next task would be to compile a list of expenses and costs to submit to the attorneys, he said, which could include EMS and law enforcement expenses.

If too few cities joined to become a class action suit, Burtner said he investigated joining the KACo suit with Clark County.

“This may be a very long project over many years,” Burtner said of the suit.

In other action, the Winchester Board of Commissioners:

— accepted $8,400 from the Freeman Corporation to plant new trees in downtown Winchester.

— appointed Lisa Johns to fill the unexpired term of her late husband Graham Johns on the Main Street Winchester board. The commissioners also presented Lisa johns with a resolution in resignation of Graham Johns’ service to Winchester.

— approved an Eagle Scout project by John Graham to install signs for a walking and bicycle trail at Community Park.

— set the time for Halloween MAIN-ia from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31.

— approved the first reading of an ordinance setting motor vehicle and water craft taxes at 19.5 cents per $100. Burtner said the rate has not changed in 34 years.

— approved agreements with the City of Paris and Kentucky Community and Technical College System as an EMS ride-time location for students.

— accepted the resignation of patrolman I Joshua Rison, Winchester Police Department.

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun, the Jessamine Journal and the State Journal. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email fred.petke@bluegrassnewsmedia.com or call 859-759-0051.

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