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County OKs legal agreement

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Hays County is moving ahead with its opioid litigation.  

The commissioners court passed a resolution on Tuesday that authorizes the execution of a legal services agreement with Phipps Deacon Purwell, PLLC, for representation in opioid litigation. 

Following a closed executive session, Precinct 4 Commissioner Walt Smith read the resolution, which recognizes the need for particular legal services which “cannot be adequately performed by the attorneys and supporting personnel of Hays County.”

“Now, therefore, be it resolved that the Hays County Commissioners Court recognizes the need for legal services of Phipps Deacon Purwell, PLLC, in order to pursue opioid litigation adopted this the 30th day of July 2019,” the resolution stated. 

Opioids are a powerful class of drugs, obtained naturally and synthetically, which include heroin, fentanyl and morphine. They’re also sold at pharmacies in the form of prescription pain pills. Various government entities have sued members of the opioid industry in the wake of the opioid crisis. The State of Texas sued Purdue Pharma in 2018 for violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA). 

According to a press release by Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office, the state’s lawsuit accuses Purdue Pharma of deceptively attempting to convince doctors that opioid drugs are not addictive and are an effective treatment for long-term pain. 

“Needless to say, our entire country is feeling a lot of pain in the hands of pain pills,” Paxton said in a press conference in 2018. 

In April, the county posted a Request for Qualifications to find a law firm that can “pursue litigation against opioid manufacturers, distributors, and others related to the impact of opioid manufacturing, marketing, distribution, and use in Hays County.”

After selecting Phipps Deacon Purwell, PLLC, Hays County voted to execute an engagement letter with the firm at their meeting on July 16. 

Phipps Deacon Purwell, PLLC, is a law firm based out of San Antonio that is representing Bexar County in its lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, which started in 2018. 

In 2017, Eric Hargan, deputy secretary of Health and Human Services, declared the opioid crisis to be a public health emergency. The epidemic, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), began following the increased prescriptions of opioid medication that began in the late 1990s. 

According to data collected by DHHS, over 130 people die each day from opioid-related drug overdoses. 

San Marcos Record

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