Greene County joins opioid lawsuit, Carter County forgoes

GREENEVILLE (WJHL) – Two local counties considered joining the fight against the opioid epedemic last night, with one joining and the other abstaining.

At a meeting Monday evening, the Greene County Commission decided to hire an attorney on behalf of the people in fighting the opioid epidemic.

Commissioners voted to hire attorney Thomas Jessee, who has a lawsuit prepared against opioid distributors. The suit claims that they did not properly earmark and red flag irregular patterns to the government.

The attorney’s data shows that Greene County is among the top 40 counties in the state for opioid-related deaths.

County Mayor David Crum says it is the right thing to do.

“It’s impacted us in our jails and overcrowding, almost everyone there is a result of some sort of drug issue,” Crum said. “It’s impacted us in being able to fill jobs which has impacted our count.”

But at the Carter County Commission meeting Monday, county leaders took a different path. Commissioners voted 12-11 not to hire an attorney and join the lawsuit.

Attorney Thomas Jessee says he is disappointed by the decision.

Last month, several local prosecutors announced they are suing an opioid manufacturer.

District attorneys general, Barry Staubus, Tony Clark and Dan Armstrong announced a joint lawsuit, filed on on behalf of a local baby born exposed to drugs. The attorneys are suing prescription opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma L.P., its related companies, Mallinckrodt PLC and Endo Pharmaceuticals. The more than 80-pages-long lawsuit also lists a local clinic and two convicted opioid dealers as defendants.




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