WILLIAMSON – The Williamson City Council heard a second proposal for representation in a suit against drug distribution companies.
Williamson Attorney Mark Mitchell presented copies of his proposed suit at Thursday’s regular meeting of the Williamson City Council.
Mitchell also presented his proposal at a recent meeting of the Mingo County Commission and is interested in only representing Mingo County and the City of Williamson in taking action against drug wholesale suppliers. “I am here not as part of any plan to see how many cities or counties that I can get to let me represent them. I only want to represent the city of Williamson and the county of Mingo because I live here and have been affected directly by it. Like many of the people here in the room, I have had family members hooked on Oxy’s and Lortabs. I have been a pall bearer for a friend that overdosed. I live next door to a Suboxone clinic. I drive to my parents’ house; I go by another Suboxone clinic. I sweep needles up out of the parking garage. On weekends, I see people snorting pills in the parking lot of the court house. I am at ground zero. For that reason, I want to represent the city and the county,” Mitchell stated as he approached the council.
Following Mitchell’s proposal, the council voted to take the proposal under consideration and advised that the council will continue to hear proposals from attorneys seeking to represent the city.
Letitia Chafin was also in attendance at Thursday’s meeting on behalf of the H. Truman Chafin Law Firm. A proposal from the Chafin Law Firm to represent the city in litigation regarding pharmaceutical companies was presented before the Williamson City Council at the previous regular meeting. At that meeting, the council approved taking the proposal under consideration and placed the matter to be voted upon at Thursday’s meeting.
Chafin approached the council at Thursday’s meeting stating, “This is not a lawsuit that solves the problem by any means, but it is something we hope will bring resources back to the city for resources that had to expend because of the actions of these distributors. That includes law enforcement, EMS, the fire department or liter. It is a big issue and I know there are a lot of expenses. There are all kinds of costs that cities, particularly in southern W.Va. are incurring that we hope to recoup funds that would come back to your general revenue and you could best decide how to use them.”
Both proposals seek to hold major drug distribution companies accountable for allegedly failing to follow the proper protocol which required the companies to flag exceedingly large quantities of opiates sent to pharmacies in rural areas with low populations and seek damages incurred as a result of the distribution companies’ alleged negligence.
Following presentations from the attorneys, Williamson Mayor Robert Carlton suggested that the council continue to accept proposals from attorney’s interested in representing the city in filing suit against wholesale drug distribution companies. The council agreed and voted to hear proposals presented within the next 10 days.
Council expects to make a decision in regard to the proposals at the next regular meeting of the Williamson City Council.
(Courtney Harrison is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242 ext. 2279.)