NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A clash has ended between the Tennessee attorney general and local prosecutors over lawsuits against drug companies for costs of the opioid epidemic.
Attorney General Herbert Slatery stepped out of the district attorneys’ case Thursday in Campbell County Circuit Court, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports. A representative of his office read a statement and handed Judge John McAfee an order in which he agreed to back down.
The proposed order recognizes that state and local cooperation is essential amid the epidemic affecting Tennessee, the statement said. Slatery spokeswoman Leigh Ann Apple Jones said he has also decided not to file a federal lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies.
Slatery had told the 14 district attorneys general in March that their lawsuits were impeding his ability to prosecute. He had filed motions to intervene in the three lawsuits, claiming legal issues with the cases, the role of local prosecutors and their use of outside attorneys.
The prosecutors, who represent roughly half the state’s counties, had said in response that local communities lose out when lawsuits like theirs are rolled into one settlement and Slatery was trying to undermine their litigation.
Slatery’s office is leading a 40-state coalition investigating opioid manufacturers and distributors.
Information from: Knoxville News Sentinel, http://www.knoxnews.com