At the Vermilion City Council Meeting on Monday, August 3, 2020, Mayor Forthofer asked Vermilion City Council to pass a motion in support of the City Administration's intent to file as part of a class action lawsuit. The Administration is asking for damages against Purdue Pharma.
“I believe that the residents in City of Vermilion have suffered a heartbreaking cost, both directly and indirectly, resulting from opioids manufactured and marketed improperly by Purdue Pharma,” stated the mayor. “Supporting documents have been sent to Council.”
Attorney Susan Anderson said she welcomed questions regarding the class action lawsuit for damages against Purdue Pharma.
Steve Herron, Council President, asked if the city could stand to receive proceeds from this settlement, and if so, when.
Attorney Anderson said at this point it is filed as a bankruptcy case. So, they filed on behalf of the city a Proof of Claim for damages.
“The way it has been set up through the court is that the City of Vermilion's damages have already been estimated in terms of past and future damages, and this estimate is around six million dollars,” stated Attorney Anderson. “This takes into an account monetary amounts that already have been expended, dealing with folks that have had these opioid addictions, education and training, and additional services you may expend in the future. There is a lot of people with money in this pot – trying to get the money, so I am telling my clients that if the estimate is six million dollars this is a big number, but really at the end of the day you're probably only looking at maybe pennies on the dollar in payments that will be structured over a number of years.”
Anderson said the deadline to file a Proof of Claim was July 30, and now that this has passed they should have a better sense going into the next few months as to how many claims have been filed and what the process will be, and what the city may actually see. Her estimation is that it was certainly worth filing the city's claim to reserve their right to get some of the money if they can do so.
Council Member Barb Brady asked why Purdue, since there are many pharmaceutical companies?
Attorney Anderson said this is the one that has been focused on in lawsuits. They may see it with other companies in the future, but this is the one that is at this point in terms of filing bankruptcy and trying to collect all the claims and getting it resolved.
Council voted unanimously to support the City Administration's intent to file as part of a class action lawsuit for damages against Purdue Pharma.